Dumberer and Dumberer

Today AJ and I got together to brainstorm ideas as we occasionally do and I guess this is what we came up with. We’d been getting pretty bored from an hour or so of playing sega genesis games when we decided we’d surf the web. Logged on as Paul on facebook, our attention was suddenly drawn to one of his friends. There was just something about this guy’s hilarious misspelled and somewhat simpleminded comments that suddenly inspired us.

So we decided to change up the kid’s name a little and then make a slideshow based off of his actual facebook updates. I am not lying when I say at least 80% of what we say in this video was actually said by this kid verbatim…. And that’s basically what AJ, Paul and myself did all day and it was good fun. I’d be surprised if anyone aside from us three found it to be that funny (It’s purposefully done in an amateur styling) but hopefully it will amuse someone. If you don’t like “Richard Fatbert humor” this may not be your bag. Anyhow, I have no regrets about making this and uploading it to the internet.

P.S. “Brian Hjort” is actually the name of one of this guy’s friends…. I have no idea how to pronounce it. The title of this post is a reference to our “Film Talk” video.

Rock Out with Your PSP Out

Rock Band Unplugged

Harmonix is one of my favorite video game developers because, in a way, they are not trying to be video game developers. They started out trying to find a way to bring the experience of making music to people who don’t play instruments or sing, and before really striking a chord in the hearts of millions with Guitar Hero, they released two great games called Frequency and Amplitude. They have returned to that original concept with their newest game, Rock Band Unplugged for the PSP.

Like those two games, Unplugged tasks the player with activating multiple instruments, Rock Band‘s signature drums, vocals, guitar and bass. This is done by perfectly playing a section of the track, which activates the instrument for a little while, so you can address the other three. The controls are very precise, and the songs are tabbed well, although it can be occasionally difficult to find the tempo when switching between tracks.

Unplugged offers the standard World Tour mode as its main way to play, and sadly it just doesn’t work as well in this setting. The game is entirely single player, and having to play the same tracks over and over gets old, especially with some tracks that have been around in these games for ever, like “Carry on my Wayward Son.” In fact, far too much of the track list is recycled for people like me, who still play Rock Band 2 every week. There are like ten new songs in the game, which are great, I just wish there was more. There is DLC too, but it’s priced the same as console DLC, and I can’t bring myself to spend my money like that.

But that’s not to say this game isn’t fun. This is a lot a fun, and even playing the old songs the first few times is a pretty great experience. You just get worn out. There’s little motivation to keep playing too, since the character customization is pretty limited. But if you’re in the mood, this can be a blast. Just consider getting something like DJMAX or Ouendan first.

T3: Top Ten (Mariner) Baseball Blogs

I thought I’d celebrate the opening of Da Morgue.org with a Classic Top Ten Thursday. This is one I’ve been meaning to do for a while after I found out that Sean had been reading ussmariner.com. Here is a collection the best websites that I read on a daily basis.

10. Major League Baseball Trade Rumors- MLBTR.com
Your one stop shop for any rumors going on throughout the mainstream baseball media. They basically scour all of the daily newspapers, websites like ESPN and FOX Sports, and smaller blogs and weed out the nonsense and give you the rumors. The one drawback is sometimes things can be misinterpereted by the sites authors and rumors are created rather than reported. But as long as you’re careful this is a great place to get the quick and dirty news of the day.

9. Pro Ball North West (formerly Bleeding Blue and Teal)-proballnw.com
At first glance just a normal fanblog but as I kept reading the author Jon Shields who resides in Vancouver, WA has a great feel for baseball writing and gives his unique opinions on Mariner happenings.

8. The Hardball Times/ShysterBallhardballtimes.com
The Hardball Times is a great sabermetric analysis website that has a collection of statistics and articles. Most of the articles are a little above the normal readers head, but their resident blogger Craig Calcaterra discusses all aspects of baseball. Calcaterra’s a lawyer by day and also blogs for NBCsports.com. He discusses everything from stadium politics, to baseball business, to wierd happenings around the MLB.

7. The Hot Stone League-seattletimes.com/hotstoneleague
Seattle Times columnist Larry Stone uses this venue to discuss more national topics, usually with some sort of local connection. Since it is a newspaper blog you usually get stuff that does not make it into the print articles like miscellaneous quotes.

6. Shannon Drayer 710 ESPN-mynorthwest.com
Shannon Drayer is the only beat writer that actually travels and is employed with the team. She has a truly unique perspective and her blog usually focuses more around clubhouse happenings and really interesting stories. It is much more personal than some of the other sites and is really the only place that lets you peek into the lives of the Seattle Mariners.

5. Fangraphs-fangraphs.com
Fangraphs is another sabermetric analysis website that provides a plethora of statistics and even has a search plug in for firefox. I visit this site at least a dozen times to day as a quick reference to advanced metrics such as Win Values or Ultimate Zone Rating. It really is a one stop shop for everything in advanced baseball statistics.

4.Prospect Insider-prospectinsider.com
Jason Churchill is a local blogger who’s site grew and now he writes for ESPN with BBWAA writer Keith Law. Churchill’s focus is almost exclusively about the Mariner’s minor leagues. He has many sources including scouts from all over the league and is the place to go if you want to learn about minor leaguers coming back in trades that the M’s have recently made.

3. Geoff Baker-seattletimes.com/marinersblog
We are truly lucky to have a beat writer as good as Baker for our local newspaper. Along with writing great articles in the print editions, he goes above and beyond on the internet providing podcasts, video tours of stadiums, extensive spring training coverage. I don’t always agree with his opinions but what he is doing for the newspaper industry is great.

2. Lookout Landing-lookoutlanding.com
Lookout Landing is run by Jeff Sullivan who is a biochemist that lives in San Diego who loves the Mariners. I’ve talked to him via email and on the phone on a couple of occasions for my articles at school and I’ve got to say for someone who isn’t involved with baseball for a living he knows a lot about it. Like ussmariner, lookout landing has a lot analysis articles, but what I like about it is reading Sullivans personal post game thoughts. He is frequently hilarious and extremely entertaining to read.

1. Uss Mariner-ussmariner.com
Run by Dave Cameron, who also writes for fangraphs and the Wall Street Journal, and Derek Zumsteg, USS Mariner is packed full of analysis, ideas, criticisms and praise for the Mariners. My brother introduced me a couple years ago and I never stopped going. It is one of the most nationally recognized local sports blogs out there and for good reason. If you only read one of these websites ever, this is the one.

Welcome to Da Morgue.org

It finally happened, the real Cat Fancy magazine made the totally reasonable request that we stop using their name. So we wanted to move to Morgue.org, but that’s taken. So instead I moved us to Da Morgue.org.

Hopefully this will be the greatest thing ever to happen.

I’ll start working on a new banner and stuff immediately. You better buckle up, because we’re in for a wild ride.

Release the Hounds

The Dead Weather – Horehound

Now I like Jack White as much as the next guy but c’mon a third band? It’s almost like he’s just trying to rub it in our faces that he’s a big rock star and that he can basically do whatever the hell he wants. Now taking on drum duties, along with some occasional vocals, guitar and of course producing duties, let’s get to know the other members of his latest supergroup first.

First is Alison Mosshart (Who’s also featured on the album cover) of The Kills who takes on the front-man or should I say front-woman role with most of the lead vocals and guitar. I’d actually heard The Kills last album Midnight Boom which had kind of a catchy lo-fi charm to it and although Mosshart may not be the most gifted vocalist, she easily makes up for it with personality and all out energy. Next is multi instrumentalist Dean Fertita (primarily the guitarist of the group I believe) who’s probably best known as the keyboard player for The Queens of the Stone Age and as a touring member of The Raconteurs (I saw him play with them live at The Moore). Finally is bassist Jack Lawrence, the bassist for The Raconteurs and rock trio The Greenhornes… Whatever happened to them I have no idea. So all in all a well blended group of musicians.

Now I was basically ready to trash this album before it even came out. I figured “Why should I care about Jack White’s table scraps?” But even though you can definitely hear his influence, he’s really just another member of the band. As a matter of fact, Alison Mosshart wrote the bulk of the album and the result is a nice n’ raw collection of bluesy garage rock. I love all the blaring vintage organs, crunchy over-distorted guitars and intense percussion. Lead off single “Hang You from the Heavens” is an early standout with “Treat Me Like Your Mother” close behind, followed by plenty of other some hard rockin’ tracks.

The Dead Weather may not be as catchy as The Raconteurs or as interesting as The White Stripes and there really isn’t any “great” songs here but it finds a mildly compelling mid-ground and should satisfy most Jack White fans. It’s not a very accessible album and kind of fizzles out around the last three tracks but for the majority of the album it’s a fairly enjoyable ride.

Favorite Tracks: “Hang You from the Heavens”, “I Cut Like a Buffalo”, “Treat Me Like Your Mother”

Death Cab In Concert

I’m having hard time feeling motivated to do CAT’s anymore so I don’t think I’ll be doing them as frequently anymore. I’m sure I might do one everyone once in a while, like for an album that’s relevant to whatever’s happening during a certain week. But for now I thought I’d reflect on a concert I attended with fellow Cat Fancy members John Otteni and Matt Carstens about three days ago, Death Cab for Cutie with opening acts New Pornographers and Ra Ra Riot.

The concert was held at Marymoor Park in Redmond, which was pretty cool. It seems like every concert I’ve been to I’ve had to devote a large chunk of my day before hand just getting to the concert. But with this one I was able to get off of work two hours before the concert, then meet up with John and Nancy and arrive at Marymoor with plenty of time to spare. Luckily, we were even able to get a spot right near the stage to view the concert.
First Act: Ra Ra Riot

I’ve been a fan of Ra Ra Riot after hearing their debut album that was released last year, so I was really looking forward to seeing them live. They have a great live energy, and seeing them live really added to my apprectiation of their music. I really loved seeing how the cellist, violinist, and guitarist are all doing this very different things melodically and yet it all fits together so perfectly. The only real complaint I had was that it felt like their set wasn’t that long, but looking back on it, it looks like they played pretty much all the songs from their only album, so I guess that’s not even worth complaining about, especially for an opening act. I’d definitely like to see them again sometime in the near future.
Second Act: The New Pornographers

I’ve never really gotten into the New Pornographers despite Matt’s infatuation with them, but I’ve still always enjoyed their music, just not enough to listen to any of their albums. I had remembered seeing pictures of them before and remembering them seeming pretty old as far as the age of their band members. Then they walked out onstage and my memory served me correct, most of them looked like they were around forty, except the base player looked like he had to be at least 50 years old.
Their set was good, pretty much what I expected though. According to Matt their set list was a pretty random collection of their songs, although he seemed to enjoy their set nonetheless. However, Matt was still pissed Niko Case wasn’t performing with them, which I can understand, although I wasn’t expecting her to be there. Before the concert he said seeing The New Pornographers live was going to be the pinnacle of his life, or something like that, so I’m glad I was able to make that happen for him.
Headliners: Death Cab For Cutie

About a half hour or so after New Pornographers, Death Cab For Cutie took the stage, launching into “The Employment Pages”, “Your Heart Is An Empty Room”, and “The New Year”. So from the beginning the set consisted of songs from throughout Death Cab’s discography. I think they only played about five songs from their newest album, and just one from their recently-released Open Door EP. I kind of wish I had listened to more of Death Cab’s early stuff before the concert, because they certainly played a lot of it, and I haven’t really listened to anything before Transatlanticism.
Though Death Cab isn’t really the kind of band that usually rock’s that hard, they were still an enjoyable act to watch. Singer Ben Gibbard and guitarist Chris Walla had a nice dynamic going as they would trade of on lead and rhythm guitar duties as well as keyboard duty. Probably the most memorable song was the extended version of “I Will Possess Your Heart”, it was pretty cool to see Death Cab jam off of the first part of the song live.
So all in all it was a damn fine concert, it was the first time I’ve seen more than two acts on a bill, and the fact that both opening acts as well as the headliners were great just made an overall memorable concert. It seems I have a hard time seeing more than one concert a year, and if this ends up being the only one I see until next summer, I guess I’d be alright with it, because it was definitely one of the better ones I’ve seen.
Death Cab For Cutie Setlist

1. The Employment Pages
2. Your Heart Is an Empty Room
3. The New Year
4. Crooked Teeth
5. President of What?
6. Photobooth
7. No Sunlight
8. Title Track
9. Grapevine Fires
10. I Will Possess Your Heart
11. I Was A Kaleidoscope
12. Little Bribes
13. Cath…
14. Fake Frowns
15. Long Division
16. Soul Meets Body
17. I Will Follow You Into The Dark
18. A Movie Script Ending
19. What Sarah Said
20. Transalanticism

Man on the Moon


Further postponing my “Top Ten Baseball Movies” due to the fact that I still need to see a few more films, here are my thoughts on the relatively new indie/sci-fi flick Moon. Directed by first timer Duncan Jones (AKA Zowie Bowie, the son of David Bowie) and filmed on a minimal budget, Moon is low-key sci-fi thriller propelled by the performance of it’s talented lead and atmospheric surroundings.

Sam Bell (Sam Rockwell) is an astronaut employed by Lunar Industries to extract helium-3, as a solution to the Earth’s energy crisis. Stationed at a lunar base for almost three years, Sam (along with only a computer companion named Gerty (Kevin Spacey) now eagerly awaits his return home to his family. Though with no more than a few weeks left, Sam’s mental state slowly starts to deteriorate, leading him to discover that things may not be as they seem.

There’s not a lot I can say about the story without revealing too much, but Moon certainly has it’s fair share of twists and turns and is compelling both as science fiction film and a drama of the psychological variety. Rockwell’s more or less one man show is quite impressive as he never fails to disappoint with his enthusiasm and rather oddball charm. The voice of Kevin Spacey is also a nice touch and despite the minimal cast, there’s rarely a dull moment.

Naturally the strong acting and intriguing story are a driving force, but I find the film’s setting and atmosphere to be the true centerpiece. The desolate and dreary landscapes are beautifully photographed and some of the model work has an excellent retro charm to it. I’ve heard some critics compare Moon to Douglas Trumbull’s 1972 ecological sci-fi film Silent Running and I definitely see a resemblance in the style and even some of the themes and other elements.

Duncan Jones looks to have a bright future ahead of him, especially if he keeps to sci-fi. It’s always nice to get somewhat of a throwback in the genre opposed to some of the loud and flashy sci-fi films of today. So far it’s been these indie flicks that have kept me coming to the theaters this summer and it’s always a nice change of pace. Moon will probably challenge some moviegoers patience with it’s somewhat slow pacing or lack of extravagant effects but I found it to be a mildly entertaining little sci-fi flick and would recommend it to sci-fi fans.