Monday, August 29, 2011

It's me.

I might be up late tonight. Not necessarily doing anything in particular, but no real reason to go to bed... except for the fact that I'm tired, but you know... that's nothing.

I've got the Simpsons on. I decided a while ago that I was going to go through the show one by one, and right now I'm just about done with season two. And by a while ago, I mean... months and months ago. It's been slow going, but I'm still doing it. I had watched most of these episodes years and years ago in reruns, and while I always enjoyed them, I never really realized that a large portion of the audience considered it one of the greater TV series of all time. So now I'm going through it to see if it actually achieves that greatness. It's been alright so far.

I spent a large portion of my weekend watching Ninja Warrior on the G4 channel. It's a series where people go to Japan to try this ridiculous obstacle course that only three people out of thousands have done. I don't typically have cable, but when I'm at work, and there's nothing really for me to do... it's the best thing on Saturday mornings (well, I think it was a marathon, so it's probably just a one-time thing, but still.)

I had a friend who tried out for the show... and I think actually went to Japan to appear on the show. I was watching to see if I would be able to spot him, not knowing at all whether or not he would keep appearing every season (as apparently others have), but I did not see him. I ended up Googling to see if he appeared on the show recently... which he hasn't. And it kind of weirded me out that I Googled him at all, since I usually use Google to find out cool bits of info and not to see what old friends are up to.

I completely lost contact with the dude. I think he deleted his Facebook account, which unfortunately is akin to removing yourself from society at this point in time... and I don't know if anyone else I know is still in contact with him (and even if I did, I'm probably not in close contact with any of them either). So who knows... he could be dead, for all I know. Which would be unfortunate... because, you know... death is not the best thing in the world...

It's kind of weird when I think about it. I've essentially lost contact with a lot of people over the course of the years, but most of them are still Facebook-able. But right now, I really only want to know what's going on with one particular person, and I have no way of finding out what he's up to. I'm assuming in the old days, you could search in the phone book to find his number, and then call him like that. Now it's Facebook. And Google, I suppose. Makes me wish for the old days... (that's a lie, I am terrible at talking on the phone. I don't know why I said that.)

I guess I am getting a little tired.

Going to bed is probably the best option...

Sunday, August 28, 2011

For reasons unbeknownst to me, I'm really looking forward to the NFL season starting up. Usually this is because the Vikings look promising. This is not the case. The Vikings are going to go 6-10.

So I don't really know why I'm looking forward to the season (might have to do with the NFL dangling the idea of no season in front of us to make us want it even more...), but I decided that I would do a season preview. And since it's about 10 days away from the first game, I figure I can do it now.

My methods in determining how the NFL season will play out were like this:

1. Go to internet.
2. Look for Tecmo Super Bowl mods with updated rosters.
3. Illegally download it.
4. Simulate entire season.

And that is what I did. And of course, a football video game is probably as good of a predictor as anything else, so take this as gospel.

Quite a surprising result. I mean, you had your usual suspects all making the playoffs (Jets, Steelers, Chiefs, and Colts all repeat playoff teams from last year), but the other two playoff slots were two out of nowhere teams. First, the Cleveland Browns, behind a Peyton Hillis that put up 2000 yards rushing, tied with the Colts and the next team with the best record at 12-4. Also, the Jacksonville Jaguars jumped out to a 7-0 start, and then battled tooth and nail with the Colts for the division... only to lose out on account of tiebreakers.

Also, the Patriots went 6-10 this year, and finished behind the likes of the Raiders and Dolphins. Which could mean that their reign atop the AFC standings after a decade is pretty much over, that Tom Brady is over the hill and needs to retire immediately, that Bill Belichick didn't cheat nearly enough... or that the person putting together this mod hates the Patriots.

Well, considering the fact that just about everyone is picking the Eagles to win it all this year (except those who aren't picking the Eagles because everyone else is picking them... but really, they're also expecting the Eagles to win), it's fitting that the Eagles turn in the best regular season since the Pats going 16-0, as Philly puts up a 15-1 record. And somehow in the process, Michael Vick turned from mediocre QB to throwing 45 TDs and only 8 interceptions. Which seems unlikely, but still. I simulated a Tecmo season last year and it had a Green Bay team barely sneak into the playoffs only to win it all... so obviously it wouldn't lie.

(Oh God. Oh God oh God...)

Umm... the Packers also did good. 12-4. Second best. Umm... the Saints, Seahawks, and Bears also repeated as playoff teams this year as well, with the Seahawks in another bloody battle for the NFC West crown with the St. Louis Rams, who ended up making the playoffs as a wild card. Unfortunately, their records were just a mediocre 9-7, instead of the battle of the 7-9 behemoths we got last year.

The Vikings tried. They were in the playoffs for a split second. But they finish 7-9, and promptly move to LA.

Other notes:
-Tamba Hali set the record for most sacks in a season with 37, which bests Michael Strahan's previous best of 22.5. It probably can't best my record of 108 in a season of this game, but you know... it's different.
-An NFL first, as no punts or kicks were returned for TDs this year. Which is probably because they moved the kickoffs to the 35 to limit the amount of kicks returned. No real explanation for the fact that no punts were returned for TDs... except maybe that special teams' spirits were weakened by the rule change... and everyone just stopped trying.

In the wild card round, home field advantage holds in most cases, as the Jets beat the Jaguars, the Saints beat the Bears, and the Chiefs beat the Steelers. But the Seahawks and the Rams engage in round three, with the road Rams coming away with a 28-27 victory.

The divisional round, the surprising Browns take out the Jets, and the Colts beat the Chiefs on the AFC side. The Packers unfortunately beat the Saints rather handily, which sets up a showdown with the 15-1 Eag...

Wait no. The f-ing 9-7 Rams beat the 15-1 Eagles 28-17. Which means one of two things: 1) the 2011 Rams are channeling the spirit of the 1979 Rams, the 9-7 squad that somehow squeaked into Super Bowl XIV (only to lose to the Steelers), or 2) the game was rigged in order to make it easier for the Packers.

In the conference championships, the Browns beat out the Colts 13-0, while the cheating Packers sneak sedatives into the Rams' Gatorade, which allows the Packers to win 37-24. I'm assuming they also paid off the Colts to let the Browns win, because there's no way the Browns have a shot at winning the Super Bowl, right?




Packers win 35-24.


So basically, Tecmo Super Bowl has decreed the Packers as repeat champions, and has single handedly crushed my enthusiasm for the upcoming season. Which is just great. I love it. Now I take up sewing or something instead of watching the entire state of Wisconsin receive another championship trophy. Super. By the way, they beat Cleveland, which might be the only city that bests the Twin Cities in sports misery. So that just makes it even worse...


Hold on.

I'm simulating another season to get a result that I like...

Chiefs over Rams. Show-Me State showdown. I can live with that.

So just ignore everything I wrote here.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

So this has become my most anticipated album of 2011. By far.

It's probably my most anticipated anything, for that matter.

This one'll probably be taken down within minutes, but whatever.

It's his first album since 2004's Real Gone (unless you count 2006's Orphans, which is a compilation of new stuff, old stuff, and everything else in between), and it's one of those things where you're fully expecting it to be great. Or, at the very least, *interesting.*

Waits is 61, so conventional wisdom would be at some point you'd expect him to "lose it" and produce something subpar, just like any other artist struggling with age. But he hasn't shown any signs of getting any worse, and when you're someone who is as strange and unique as he is... all you really have to do is to translate that uniqueness onto record and it's going to be quality.

I get to go back to moving everything now.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Thing I did today:

There's been this unassembled DVD shelf sitting in a box in the garage, waiting for me to finally put it together after about 4 years of it just sitting wrapped in styrofoam.

I've been looking for shelves recently, so that I could possibly put my bobbleheads on them. I decided that the unassembled DVD shelf could possibly make a decent bobblehead shelf (and by that, I mean that it could house maybe a fifth of them...). So I decided to put it together.

The reason I am mentioning this is because I assembled it.

With no problems whatsoever.

Which means that this was the first time I have assembled a piece of furniture without encountering any problems, or cursing at the instructions, or yelling at anyone for even the slightest insinuation that they might be of help (which is code for "I could probably do this better than you" in Ikea-furniture-ese.)

It's probably the first thing I have ever done that has made me feel "handy".

Does this mean I'm a man now?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

I like how I find out I need thousands and thousands of dollars of dental work just as soon as I am about to move out.

Basically, this has been my week. General fretting about everything and trying to figure out what the hell to do.

I mean, I know what I have to do (A: find a place that will do the dental work cheaper; B: keep making money in order to pay for it). Task A will be done tomorrow, Task B hopefully will be something that... you know, I won't have to worry about for a while.

But of course, on the day that I find out I need all this money for dental work, I get a call from work telling me that I get the weekend that I normally work completely off. Which means that my paycheck will be about $200 less. Which is... not great. And I could take it in stride and just enjoy my weekend off, but... I'm moving.

Of course, today I also find that my check for my rental tax refund was in the mail. Which I kind of forgot about, so it's kind of like I got extra money.

So... things are good, things are bad, things are in between... and I feel as if my luck is teetering on the edge, easily bouncing between fortunate and unfortunate.

That's *really* how my whole year's been. A lot of good. A lot of bad.

Friday, August 12, 2011

All of a sudden I realize I haven't written anything in a while, and I get the huge urge to do something even without any particular grand idea of what to say.

So... yeah. I've been busy this week. Fretting and not sleeping and dealing with things I'd rather not deal with.

I had to make an extra trip into work today because my pay check was one shift short. Not that this is particularly interesting for you at all, but I am mentioning this because probably at some point in my life I probably would not have dealt with it--in order to not insinuate blame on the person who screwed up the check. Which is good, because it seems rather stupid if I would hear anyone else struggling to deal with it.

Before I went to the office to talk to the payroll person, what I was sort of expecting would happen would be that they were testing me to see if I would notice the smaller check, and upon learning that I did notice it, they would get upset and refuse to rectify the omission. And then... upon learning that they could not fool me into giving me smaller checks, they'd fire me.

I don't know if anyone else's brain works that way. I kind of hope so.

Not much else to say.

I'll leave with what I've been listening to today.

I appreciate a band that can produce songs as wildly diverse as these and make them all sound for the most part pretty much great.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

This isn't going to interest anyone.

There happened to be a copy of the new NCAA Football 12 game from Gamefly at home today. This is great, because I was really clamoring to play the game for some reason and almost willing to plop $60 for it... but also terrible, because I got absolutely nothing done for the rest of the day.

The problem with the game is that it's completely illogical.

I'm doing the My Player mode (or whatever it's called) as a wide receiver. My best game through 10 is 3 catches for 50 yards. I'm tearing it up. Although I'd probably be doing better if the computer had an f'n brain.

The problem is that I'm not allowed to pick my own plays in this mode, and the AI does it for me. So that means that when there is 20 seconds left before half time and my team has the ball within field goal range, we'll just run the ball and let the remaining seconds tick instead of actually trying to score.

That also means that when I'm down by 10 or more points in the 4th quarter, then EVERY single play called is going to be a run. Because nothing conserves time like a persistent running attack.

That also means punting the ball on 1st down.

What the hell...?

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sometimes I go on spending sprees. I assume that a lot of people do this... it's probably not healthy in the slightest, and I assume that if you don't do this... then you're a good person. I don't know why other people might impulsively spend... but my last one was out of sheer boredom. That's actually probably the reason why most people do it.

Recently I have been perusing eBay for bobbleheads. Which is just a natural extension of my perusing every thrift store in the metro area for bobbleheads, except pricier and with a much better selection. I just received a Spock in the mail--one that could talk when it bobbles if I pull the little slip from the bottom. So that's cool.

Unfortunately, I went a little too far in bidding for things and now I might be winning a bunch of auctions I was bidding on with no presumptions on winning any of them.

I just won an auction for two Lord of the Rings bobbleheads of Frodo and Gollum... one that I bid on because the listed initial bid was $0.99 (quite a bit on shipping, but still decent), and I basically just wanted to see if that would somehow end up winning. It did.

...I don't even like Lord of the Rings...

Thursday, August 4, 2011

I've got nothing better to do, and an hour plus to kill before having to head off.


Let's do this:

Song #1: Roundabout [Early Rough Mix] by Yes

This is one of those bonus songs that you never really listen to unless you're really hardcore into the band. And... I am not a huge fan of Yes. But I really like the album Fragile, which this song comes from. I don't know. It's only got three or four actual real songs, but at least two of those are about as silly/ridiculous/indulgent/awesome as prog gets (this song and Heart Of The Sunrise, for the record), and the rest of the album is just small but cool instrumentals building up to the rightful centerpieces. It works surprisingly nicely even as someone who's not *huge* into prog.

This mix is annoying me, though. Not because it's bad, but it's just different... and I'm used to hearing the official version of the song.

Song #2: Glory Bound--Grass Roots

No idea what this song is. I might have downloaded to get some of Creed Bratton's most famous group's better stuff (Let's Live For Today, Wait A Million Years), but otherwise never heard it. I think there is a sitar in here... otherwise it sounds kind of like Tom Jones territory. Not going to post a Youtube video of this, cause I doubt anyone would want to listen to it.

Song #3: Poison Moon (Demo)--Elvis Costello

Whenever I did random iTunes writeups in the past... I would cheat and skip past the demos and the not-so-flattering stuff. I think that makes me a bad person... but at least in the case of the demos, it's because there's not much to say about it. It's from the My Aim Is True disc... there's little instrumentation... I've never heard this song before... it sounds like a demo... what more do you want me to say?

Song #4: Do You Wanna Dance--Beach Boys

I wrote about this song about a month ago. It was in the post in which I listened to a bunch of other versions of this song. I think I came to the conclusion that this was my favorite version, if only for the Phil Spector-ized production. That's all I have to say, really... umm, check out the brown cover?

Song #5: Someday--Ween

I was just listening to Ween earlier, because I stumbled upon this cool little article about the band. This is from their collection of unreleased songs called Shinola Vol. 1, which actually has some *really* great stuff. This is... OK. It initially sounds to be a fairly normal song for them... and well, it is. But there's some typical odd touches thrown in. It sort of sounds like Golden Slumbers by The Beatles to me for some reason... or at least has somewhat of the same vibe. Maybe I'm just hearing things.

Song #6: The Times They Are A-Changin'--Simon & Garfunkel

This isn't even one of Dylan's better songs, but it sure as hell got covered plenty of times. This is from S&G's (if I can be so casual to call them that) debut album that did poorly enough that it almost broke up the band (until a remixed version of Sounds Of Silence launched them into superstardom). The reason why the album didn't do well is because--it's really not that good. It's got a couple decent songs... Bleecker Street is probably better than their acoustic version of Sounds Of Silence, actually... but this song ain't one of them.

Song #7: I've Just Seen A Face--The Beatles

From Help! I believe. This is actually one of my favorite early-ish Beatles songs (I mean, it was like 5 albums into their career, but still) as well as one of my favorites from Paul. Cause usually, I'm going to go for John or George in the group, and Paul far too occasionally drifts into saccharine territory for me, but this song... is really good. Maybe it's just the guitar work--no, the melody is pretty top notch too... without sounding too sweet either.

Song #8: Alien Christ--Cloud Cult

I don't really listen to much Cloud Cult, despite the fact that I know they're on The Current a lot (mainly because they're a local band, and what not), but my main impression has always been that the lead singer's voice reminds me of Wayne Coyne from The Flaming Lips--which has always made me want to go listen to The Flaming Lips instead. It's pretty much the same on this song--it's not bad, but... I haven't listened to The Soft Bulletin in a while. It makes me want to listen to that.

Song #9: Tracy Jacks--Blur

In terms of the 90's Britpop bands, I'd probably go 1. Pulp, 2. Supergrass, 3. Oasis, 4. Blur. There are other bands I'm probably forgetting, but whatever. I guess I don't necessarily hate Blur--there are a couple songs of theirs that I'd probably exalt to the heavens--but a lot of the songs I've heard somewhat annoy me. Include this one on that list.

(I should probably put Blur ahead of Oasis, since it's cooler to hate on Oasis... but, Don't Look Back In Anger and Champagne Supernova are both great. So f*** it.)

Song #10: Two Weeks--Grizzly Bear

I heard this in concert when they were just introducing it to the live crowds, about a year before it would come out--and I thought it was thoroughly unimpressive. The studio version thankfully improves upon it quite a bit. I guess it's just that the piano keys don't have quite the same thump live than on studio? I have no idea. No wait--it was the harmonizing that annoyed me for some reason. I don't know why it bothered me, but...

Song #11: Loretta--Townes Van Zandt

This is from some live album that I got after realizing that he was the guy that did the cover of the Rolling Stones' "Dead Flowers" that appeared at the end of The Big Lebowski. And then I never really listened to the album--probably because it didn't have "Dead Flowers" on it. I don't know why I probably didn't give it a whirl--well I do. Country--well, I need to be in the right frame of mind to want to listen to country. And that's not often, usually. But this song is nice... the type of nice where I'd say that based on the strength of this song I would listen to the rest of the album... but then never actually listen to it. But that's at least something...

Song #12: We're Going Wrong (Demo)--Cream

Cream was probably the first band I "got into". I had the boxset, which included just about everything ever released by the band... plus a couple demos, some of which I actually listened to! This one included. I actually liked this song better than the original one for a while... it's more generic-bluesy than the ethereal/haunting Disraeli Gears version... but this really cooks for a bit. Probably would lean towards the released version nowadays, though... I would post a version of that one too, but I can't find a studio version of it, and the live cuts all just highlight what a poor singer Jack Bruce can be.

Song #13: Accept Yourself--The Smiths

No clue what this song is... I'm guessing it's from Hatful Of Hollow, because it's labeled "live" in the title, and I wouldn't own any live Smiths aside from the half live/half originals album they put out. I have no idea if it was actually released as a proper song on any of their other albums... and I'm feeling lazy enough to not check. This is the sort of Smiths song that inspires a middling response from me, which seems to be my overall impression of most of their output.

Song #14: Company In Your Back--Wilco

This is from their Kicking Television live album put out a while back. I don't really remember anything from it other than it possessing a great version of "Misunderstood", which is probably my 2nd favorite Wilco song outside of "I Am Trying To Break Your Heart". (When I saw them live, those two songs were the first two they played. Needless to say, the concert peaked early.) The studio version of this song is from A Ghost Is Born... but I'm more of a Being There and Yankee Hotel Foxtrot guy. So screw this one.

Song #15: White Winter Hymnal--Fleet Foxes

I'm not too huge on this one in comparison to other songs on their debut, but it's alright. But my girlfriend made a t-shirt based loosely off of this song... and it made her $2000. And if I remember correctly, if I didn't introduce the song to her, I at least gave her a CD of that entire album + the EP that preceded it. So would I say that I am responsible for her making 2000 bucks? Well, no, not really. But right now I'm gonna claim that I am... basically just for the hell of it.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

I went to a Thai restaurant last night. It was pretty good. The food was really spicy--I ordered hot, but even some of the food that was ordered mild was pretty toasty. But that's not really a huge problem for me. Anyway, as all restaurants are required to possess, there was a television. And I'm assuming like most Thai restaurants, the TV was playing Thai pop karaoke videos.

This one guy's videos started popping up after a while. The following isn't one of the ones we saw, but I'm assuming that if we stuck around we would have seen it (since everything is pretty much the same except the song and the clothes).

You have to watch the next video. You have no choice.










If you did this correctly, then you cannot unsee this. And the image of whatever the hell happened to his face is now ingrained into your memory forever.

To fully replicate the experience, you also need to eat a lot of spicy Thai food, have this guy's videos playing on a loop, and to not possess the power to take your eyes off the screen.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Saying goodbye to Randy Moss

You were a great player, Randy.


You got kicked out of Florida St, you allegedly ran over a traffic cop, you fake mooned the Green Bay playoff crowd and got Joe Buck steaming with righteous indignation, you somehow got released 4 weeks after we traded for you last year...

...but I still liked you.

Probably because you played for my team. But also because you were good, and because you gave me ample opportunity to claim that the media was biased against the Vikings because of their treatment of you (which... might be half true--in terms of prima donna WRs, Moss was more stupid than raging egomaniac like Terrell Owens--but that still might be my biases showing). And also, you were somewhat responsible for Brad Childress getting fired, despite being kind of a dick and deserving of the release. It was still your last great accomplishment, in my book.

... I still kind of the Vikings brought him back for a third time this year. May be because I've just accepted the team's self destructive nature and now just hope for something entertaining. Or perhaps it's because we actually need quality WRs, and Moss could probably still go if he wanted to.

But instead, he is retiring... probably because he'd rather smoke copious amounts of weed than play for whatever proverbial 6-10 team that would sign him. I guess I can't blame him for that... but the league is now a little bit less fun now that he's done, for better or worse.