25 December 2007

20 December 2007

Top 20 Albums of 2007

And here it is, my Top 20 albums of 2007 ... filled with video clips and comments. Enjoy!
Let me know what you think!

17 December 2007

Best Songs of 2007

Here is my big "Best Songs of 2007" for TIG, with links to videos and all ... Enjoy!

16 December 2007

Best of 2007, Part 1

I survived the AGU meeting in SF last week and I'm headed back to Boston on Wednesday, so I'll start my "Best of 2007" today as I'll have questionable internet connectivity from my folks house.
So, today I bring you my "with apologizes," "disappointing," "imports/not released in USA" and "guilty pleasures" of the year. Enjoy!

With Apologizes 
(albums that got good press but I never got a chance to hear ... so far. Hey, there are only so many albums I can buy/hear in a year. This year I found ~175 albums worth mentioning.)
Battles - Mirrors; Burial - Untrue; Gogol Bordello - Taranta; Jesu - Conqueror; Les Savy Fave - Let's Stay Friends; Liars - Liars; Lupe Fiasco - The Cool*; Menomena - Friend & Foe; The National - The Boxer; Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga; Stars - In Our Bedroom After the War; The Field - From Here We Go Sublime
(* released 12/18)

Most Disappointing
(Some albums I really look forward to and then, well, they suck. They are not necessarily the worst albums, but the ones that made me feel the worst because I expected so much. Here are the cream of the rotten crop.)
1. Rilo Kiley: Under the Blacklight - I have no idea how Rilo Kiley became a bad soft rock band. The album baffles me because it gets worse with every listen.
2. The Shins: Wincing the Night Away - This album was just boring ... and that is a cardinal sin for indie rock.
3. Travis Morrisson Hellfighters: All Y'All - Ok, well, this album was just plain bad and after Travis' last album, I didn't expect much anyway. Sorry, the Dismemberment Plan was just better.
4. Dntel: Dumb Luck - Just not catchy enough to be worth the time. Maybe Jimmy really needs Ben to complete him.
5. Modest Mouse: We were Dead Before the Ship Even Sank - You'd think MM + Johnny Marr would equal awesomeness, but instead it just sort of equalled "yawn". Success might not be the best for Isaac and the bunch.

(Here are a bunch of bands that I liked this year but never got to enjoy their albums thanks to a lack of a US release. Bah!)
The Wombats; Kate Nash (Out in January 2008); Young Knives; Rumble Strips; Gallows; Basquiat Strings; Rakes; Cats on Fire*; Seabear*; Dizzee Rascal*; Die Fantastischen Vier*; K.I.Z.
(* I ended up getting these albums anyway).

Guilty Pleasure
(What I loved that I shouldn't have loved)
2007: German Hip-hop - My trip to Germany & Finland led me to a love of German hip-hop and even though many of my trips think I'm crazy, K.I.Z. and Die Fantastischen Vier made my day. I never did get to hear the full Hahnenkampf album by K.I.Z., but I loved their song "Geld Essen". I did get Die Fantastischen Vier's Fornika that featured one of my favorite songs of 2007, "Einfach Sein". 

Look for Best Songs and Best Albums coming soon ...

07 December 2007

The annual AGU trek

I'll be off the grid - well, blogwise - next week as I'll be at the AGU meeting ... and likely without my Macbook as it is getting some repairwork done (don't ask). So, updates will likely not arrive until after 12/15 ... and hopefully I'll start posting my "Best of 2007" music.

In the meantime, I have three new TIG reviews that could end up on many people's Best of '07:

Also, here's an current iPod Top 10, dominated by me reviewing the music of 2007:
1. "Foundations" by Kate Nash
2. "Sophia" by the Toothaches
3. "The Punks are Writing Love Songs" by Tullycraft
4. "Prescilla" by Bats for Lashes
5. "Paper Planes" by M.I.A.
6. "Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo" by Jens Lekman
7. "Let's Dance to Joy Division" by the Wombats
8. "Girls & Boys in Love" by the Rumble Strips
9. "Almost Ready" by Dinosaur Jr.
10. "Sirens" by Dizzee Rascal

In 2008, I'll try to post youtube links to the videos for many of the songs ... we'll see if I can pull it off.

30 November 2007

The Week is Over

I've been busy this week working on a talk for the department seminar (not to mention AGU and potential interviews), so my time vanished quite quickly. However, the talk is done now and it went well, so now I'm a little braindead.

Tomorrow is December, so time to start thinking about "Best of 2007" lists. I think I may run a contest on TIG and here to win copies of my "Best of 2007" CD, so stay tuned. Lots of good stuff, music-wise, this year.

I also recently upgraded my computing environment to add 2GB of RAM, a 20" Dell Widescreen LCD monitor (gasp! Dell monitor on an Apple, for shame! Except, of course, the $400 on an excellent monitor) and a 500GB Seagate external HD. Good times!

Here is my current iPod Top 10:
1 "Foundations" by Kate Nash
2 "Sophia" by the Toothaches
3 "Prescilla" by Bats for Lashes
4 "Almost Ready" by Dinosaur Jr.
5 "Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo" by Jens Lekman
6 "New Dawn Fades" by Joy Division
7 "Geld Essen" by K.I.Z.
8 "Girls and Boys in Love" by the Rumble Strips
9 "Let's Dance to Joy Division" by the Wombats
10 "The Punks are Writing Love Songs" by Tullycraft

24 November 2007

I'm stunned. This is brilliant on so many levels ...


23 November 2007

Red Sox Relievers in Review

Red Sox Review, Part 2: Relievers
For relievers, the stat set is IP/ERA/WHIP/K-BB/HR/SV/W-L/Grade
They're sort by IP. No predictions for most relievers, they're so irregular.

Hideki Okajima 69.0/2.22/0.97/63-17/6/5/3-2/A
Oki was possibly the free agent signing of season if it wasn't for the ridiculous season Carlos Pena had for the Rays. Oki was everything the Sox could ask for and more. When combined with the Sox front office deciding to rest Oki before the playoffs, thus creating the unstoppable (until he met Matt Holliday) pitching machine. I'm guessing on a bit of a regressive for Oki in 2008, but I'm hoping he doesn't pull a Shinjo Takatsu. 

Jonathan Papelbon 58.1/1.85/0.77/84-14/5/1-3/A+
He is the best closer in MLB. There, I said it. Not only did he have a monstrous regular season, but he was the meanest MF-er in the playoff. Sure, J.J. Putz might have gotten more saves and a few Cy Young/MVP votes, but Papelbon was simply dominant. I think we can settle on the idea of leaving him as closer for the foreseeable future. I cannot remember the Red Sox ever having such a dominant closer except maybe when Flash Gordon was at his very short peak. 

Mike Timlin 55.1/3.42/1.08/31-14/7/1/2-1/B
You know, I didn't realize what a decent season Timlin had in 2008. Low WHIP, OK K/BB, decent number of innings pitched. Not sure what he has left in the tank, but if his Sox swan-song was his World Series Game 4 performance, he couldn't have chosen a better way to go out.

Kyle Snyder 54.1/3.81/1.42/41-32/7/0/2-3/C
Look up "mop up guy" in the dictionary, and you'll find Kyle Snyder. I did get the honor of seeing him pitch in Oakland in 2007. He was OK minus the game winning home run he gave up to Eric Chavez in extra innings. Well, I guess thats not OK. His K/BB is pretty miserable, but like Julian Tavarez, he's a good swing man ... if he's cheap.

Manny Delcarmen 44.0/2.05/1.02/41-17/4/1/0-0/A-
Wow, Manny Delcarmen tended to be like Jekyl-and-Hyde in 2007. He really did a good job in the regular season of getting his K/BB down from 2006 and his WHIP was sparkling. However, in the post season he was wild again, looking like he was overthrowing. That being said, I think he's going to be a great 7-8th inning pitcher for the Sox in 2008, but I wouldn't put all my eggs in the Delcarmen basket just yet.

Javier Lopez 40.2/3.10/1.33/26-18/2/0/2-1/B-
Ugh. Why do we have this terrible LOOGY on the roster anyway? He was worse versus lefties than righties in 2008. The lefty sidewinder let righties hit .176 against him (in 21 innings) while lefties - who he is supposed to get out, mind you - hit .293 against him (in 19.2 innings). .293! He turned every lefty he faced into Kevin Youkilis! When you combine that with his miserable K/BB, I think the only thing the Sox should be doing is telling him how to collect his ring in 2008 and thanks for the memories.

Joel Pineiro 34.0/5.03/1.62/20-14/3/0/1-1/D (Sox Stats)
Piniero was a grand experiment that failed, so he was traded to the NL and worked out OK as a starter for the Cardinals. He started 11 games for the Cards and gave them a 3.96 ERA and 1.27 WHIP, so they rewarded him with a 2 year deal. Good for him. Look for him to be a little better than league average throwing in the NL Central.

Brendan Donnelly 20.2/3.05/1.16/15-5/0/0/2-1/C
Started promising, had TJ surgery, out for 2008.

J.C. Romero 20.0/3.15/1.95/11-15/2/1/1-0/D (Sox Stats)
Wow, his WHIP and K/BB were terrible, however he did provide me with my best live Sox memory of 2007, when he somehow got out of a bases loaded, bottom of the ninth jam vs. the A's by inducing an inning-ending double play. He pitched well above his talent after getting picked up by the Phils who rewarded him with a 3 year deal (which they will be regretting in about half a year).

Eric Gagne 18.2/6.75/1.88/22-9/1/0/2-2/D (Sox Stats)
I'm not sure what caused Gagne to become a pumpkin when he came to the Sox. Maybe he truly proves the idea that a "born closer" needs to pitch for saves, because as a setup man for the Sox, he was terrible. When I saw him pitch on TV, he seemed to be overthrowing and trying to just throw fastballs. That got him into trouble and he would walk hitter after hitter. I'm guessing he bounces back in 2008, but man, it would be nice to have Dave Murphy or Engel Beltre back for this mess.

Bryan Corey 9.1/1.93/1.07/6-4/0/0/1-0/(B)
People (aka, SOSH fans) liked Corey enough in his 9.1 IP to want him on the Sox postseason roster. I don't know if I'd go that far, but he might make a good middle reliever in 2008, although his K/BB was nothing to write home.

21 November 2007

Two New Reviews and a Top Ten

Well, very busy lately with the ol' science racket, so here's two new TIG reviews and a new iPod Top 10.

Current iPod Top 10
1. "Foundations" by Kate Nash
2. "New Dawn Fades" by Joy Division
3. "Wild" by Matthew Sweet
4. "Friday Night at the Drive In Bingo" by Jens Lekman
5. "Prescilla" by Bats for Lashes
6. "Almost Ready" by Dinosaur Jr.
7. "Girls and Boys in Love" by the Rumble Strips
8. "Hunger Strike" by Temple of the Dog
9. "Sophia" by the Toothaches
10. "The Opposite of Hallelujah" by Jens Lekman

16 November 2007

Red Sox Starters in Review

Let's start with the 2008 Red Sox rotation.
Here are the starters with IP, ERA, WHIP, K-BB, HR, QS-#Starts,W-L, Grade in order of #Starts
My random guesses at 2008 stats are IP/ERA/WHIP/W-L

Daisuke Matsuzaka 204.2/4.40/1.32/201-80/25/18-32/15-12/C+
2008: 200/3.67/1.22/18-10
Dice didn't live up to the hype that was expected for the $51M posting and ensuing 6 year deal, but I think Dice's year was relatively positive. I point to the comparison with Josh Beckett in 2006: 204.2/5.01/1.29/158-74/36/16-11. Dice, in fact, has a better K/BB and HR/IP than Beckett in 2006. If Dice can gain confidence to pitch to contact in 2008, I think he can make a leap like Beckett in 2007, but if he can't and he continues to nibble like he did at the end of the 07 regular season, then it could be a long 2008 for the Japanese import.

Tim Wakefield 189.0/4.76/1.35/110-64/22/15-31/17-12/B
2008: 125/4.88/1.40/8-5
What can really be said about Wake? Until he hurt his back, he was well on his way to his best season ever, and here he is in his early forties. I'm guessing he has a few more effective seasons left in that knuckling tank, but if the back injury is chronic, his innings might be limited, but for $4M/year, he's worth bringing back until he can't pitch anymore.

Josh Beckett 200.2/3.27/1.14/194-40/17/20-30/20-7/A
2008: 211/3.01/1.15/22-6
The biggest thing about Beckett from 06 to 07, in my eyes, was Josh cutting his HR allowed by 50% in the same # of innings. Remarkable. He also significantly improved his K/BB and made a case for being the best postseason pitcher in MLB today. He has learned to pitch to contact and to pound the strikezone. What else can I say, he's a true ace.

Curt Schilling 151.0/3.87/1.25/101-23/21/14-24/9-8/B-
2008: 185/3.77/1.27/10-7
Curt missed a significant part of 2007 to injury and when he was pitching (minus the 1 hitter vs. Oakland), he was Curt 2.0, a wily pitcher trying to pitch to deadened contact rather than getting K's. He was mostly effective with this strategy during the Sox playoff run, but we'll see if he tries to build some velocity back up for his final(?) season in 2008 with the Sox.

Julian Tavarez 134.2/5.15/1.50/77-51/14/7-23/7-11/C-
2008: 110/4.98/1.48/6-7
I fully expect that the Sox will trade Tavarez for a part before 2008, but Julian was an "effective" swing man in 2007, I suppose for a stretch he was the best 5th starter in baseball, which I suppose is like saying you're the fastest slow man in the race. He versatility is useful, but Wakefield might fill the same role for the Sox in 08.

Jon Lester 63.0/4.57/1.46/50-31/10/5-11/4-0/A-
2008: 175/4.21/1.33/12-11
His stats might be deserved the A- grade, but just the fact that he came back from cancer in 2006 to get to this level and pitch as well as he did in the World Series is success enough. You really have to hope that he can reduce the K/BB significantly and cut down the HR allowed, but you had to like the way he pitched in Game 4 of the World Series. Of course, small sample sizes are not the best way to predict success, but my guess is Lester will be above league average in 2008, especially with another off season to recover.

Kason Gabbard 41.0/3.73/1.12/29-18/3/3-7/4-0/B (Sox stats only)
The Sox traded Gabbard at the height of his value, but they ended up with a bag of doorknobs anyway (a.k.a., Eric Gagne, Type B Free Agent). He'll be an adequate #4 SP for Texas in 2008 at best.

Clay Buchholz 22.2/1.59/1.06/22-10/0/2-3/3-1/A
2008: 180/3.55/1.19/11-4
He threw a no-hitter on his 2nd ML start. Filthy. He could use to reduce his K/BB but the sky is the limit with Buchholz. The question will be how the Sox treat Buchholz. My guess is he starts in the pen but makes it to the rotation fast, much like Chad Billingsley for the 2007 Dodgers. He will have his ups and downs, but look at Billingsley as a good proxy for Buchholz in 2008 and who knows from there.

Devern Hansack 7.2/4.70/1.83/5-5/2/1-0/0-1/Inc.
2008: 35/4.55/1.37/3-3
The current regime love the plucky Honduran. He might end up in the bullpen in 2008, playing the role of Julian Tavarez if Julian is traded and Wake is injured. Hard to tell what to predict here.

15 November 2007

Two new TIG Reviews: PJ Harvey and Math & Physics Club

Sometime soon I'll be rolling out a year-end look at the Red Sox, position-by-position ... but not just yet.

Instead, enjoy a couple new reviews:

11 November 2007

RIAA and MPAA are fascists

This makes me sick to my stomach. Literally, when I read this, I felt ill (well, when I read the original article, this links to my blog entry on TIG).

Share a song, don't go to college.

I normally don't advocate politics in this space, but write your congressperson if this bothers you. I've already written Diane Feinstein (D-Ca) and Mike Thompson (D-Ca).

09 November 2007

Let's Go Revs!

I have to give the New England Revolution some love. They're in the MLS Championship for the 3rd straight time (with no wins), but Taylor Twellman's goal to win the Eastern Conference is unbelievable.

Go Revs!

And here is my first ever NEGATIVE review on TIG ... a 3.8/11. Enjoy!
Travis Morrisson Hellfighters: All Y'All

08 November 2007

02 November 2007

New Jens Lekman Review

One of my most over-the-top reviews in a while for an album I love:

Jens Lekman - Night Falls Over Kortedala

Here's my current iPod Top 10
1 Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo by Jens Lekman
2 Foundations by Kate Nash
3 Almost Ready by Dinosaur Jr.
4 Wild by Matthew Sweet
5 Girls & Boys in Love by the Rumble Strips
6 Pussy'ole (Old Skool) by Dizzee Rascal
7 The Punks Are Writing Love Songs by Tullycraft
8 Geld Essen by K.I.Z.
9 Daydreamin' by Lupe Fiasco
10 Silver (Orginal Beats) by Jesu

29 October 2007

2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox

Well, I've had most of a day now to digest the Red Sox winning yet another World Series. This is still stunning to me. Five years ago I was skeptical that they would win a World Series in my lifetime and if someone would have told me that by 2008 they would have 2 World Series under their belt, well, I would assume that this person was (a) insane or (b) a time traveler (or (c) both). Yet, here we are. On one hand, the 2007 edition wasn't as cathartic as the 2004 edition, but on the other hand, the 2007 edition was more satisfying because of the amount of homegrown talent the Sox used to get here. I mean, we saw 6 rookies play important roles for the Sox in this series: Jacoby Ellsbury, Dustin Pedroia, Manny Delcarmen, Jon Lester, Hideki Okajima and Daisuke Matsuzaka (yes, I know the last two played in Japan. Whatever). This is in stark contrast to the old folks of the 2004 team. I really like what the future holds for the Red Sox now, even with less-than-exciting contract such as J.D. Drew and Julio Lugo - who did, mind you, kick it up several notches in the playoffs. Next year we can look forward to a rotation that might be Josh Beckett (the new Curt Schilling), Matsuzaka, Clay Buchholz, Lester and Tim Wakefield. Can't complain about that. And with a closer like Jonathan Papelbon, the type of closer the Red Sox have never had, with the killer pitches and lunatic mentality, they could be set for a few years to come. This is an exciting time to be a Red Sox fan and whether you like it or not, we'll be showing up at your ballparks in droves next season yet again.

28 October 2007




Game 4 ...

Two words: Finish it!

27 October 2007

Game 3

Let's keep it going!
UPDATE 10:17 PM - Sox win 10-5. They lead 3-0. You know what that means, right? Go Sox!

25 October 2007

On to Game 2

Keep it up.

UPDATE: 2-1 Sox. Schill, Oki and Paps were masterful. On to Denver ... and victory!

24 October 2007

2007 World Series!

The World Series start tonight. My bold prediction:
Boston 4 - Colorado 2
World Series MVP? Find out.

Let's get the mojo working.

UPDATE - 9:12PM Pacific: 13-1. Wow, stunning. The Rockies didn't bother to show up I guess. Go Sox!

22 October 2007

Sox vs. Rox

Ok, so call me "ye of little faith." The Sox came back with a vengeance and took out the Indians 11-2 in game 7.
Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis (left) personally crushed the Indians spirit. Good times!

Now we get the miracle kids, the Colorado Rockies. It will be a hard series, but I think the Sox pull it out in 6 games.

A new TIG review, too:
Plan B: Who Needs Action When You Have Words

21 October 2007

2007 AL Champion Boston Red Sox



I love Dustin. I love Youk. I love 'em all.

It comes down to this...

19 October 2007

Game 6, Back in Boston

I'll try to keep the mojo working.
UPDATE 10/21: Curt did not fail us. Game 7 is on.

Also, two new TIG reviews

Beirut - The Flying Club Cup
Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Baby 81

And here's my current iPod Top 10
1 Almost Ready - Dinosaur Jr.
2 Friday Night at the Drive-In Bingo - Jens Lekman
3 Foundations - Kate Nash
4 Pussy'ole (Old Skool) - Dizzee Rascal
5 Daydreamin' - Lupe Fiasco
6 Girls and Boys in Love - the Rumble Strips
7 Geld Essen - K.I.Z.
8 The Opposite of Hallelujah - Jens Lekman
9 Ring of Fire - Johnny Cash
10 The Punks Are Writing Love Songs - Tullycraft

18 October 2007

Here's to hoping ...

EDIT, 9 PM Pacific: Beckett didn't let me down. 7-1 Sox, we live to see game 6.

16 October 2007

ALCS hasn't gone exactly as planned

I wish I could be optimistic about the state of the Red Sox, but things are looking a little bleak, I have to say that.

And although I'm not a big fan of the Sox losing, I'd have to say it hurts a lot less than if it were the Yankers. (It also helps that a bunch of my favorite non-Red Sox players are on the Indians like Grady Sizemore, Ryan Garko, Jhonny Peralta, Victor Martinez, Trot Nixon, Fausto Carmona ... that being said, I still want the Sox to come back).

Moving the wheels of history

I'm trying to ignore how flat the Red Sox seem right now. La la la!

Congrats to the Rockies, though, for blowing into the World Series. They seem like the Team of Destiny (tm)

Otherwise, this clip from The Office (US Version) made me stop breathing:

(The image is linked to youtube... enjoy!)

11 October 2007

New Review and AL/NL CS Predictions

I did a first-impression review of the new, download only Radiohead album for TIG... The long and short is I like it a lot.

Radiohead - In Rainbows.

Here is my current iPod Top 10 too...
10 Flashlight Fight - the Go! Team
9 Cliquot - Beirut
8 The Punks are Writing Love Songs - Tullycraft
7 Pussy'ole (Old Skool) - Dizzee Rascal
6 Girls and Boys in Love - the Rumble Strips
5 Stronger - Kanye West
4 Geld Essen - K.I.Z.
3 Daydreamin' - Lupe Fiasco
2 Foundations - Kate Nash
1 The Opposite of Hallelujah - Jens Lekman

As for baseball, my predictions are

Red Sox 4 - Indians 3
Rockies 4 - Diamondbacks 2

01 October 2007

MLB Postseason (Part 1)

I sent this to a couple friends, but I might as well post in publicly:

Rockies win the Wild Card tiebreaker 5-4 over the Padres

Red Sox over Angels, 3-1
Indians over Yankers, 3-2
Cubs over Diamondbacks, 3-2
Phillies over Rockies, 3-2

That leaves NL and AL Championships Series of Red Sox-Indians and Cubs-Phillies. Talk about drama! So many accursed or formerly accursed teams. Wow, that would be great.

27 September 2007

Torchwood is ... well ... boring

So I've been waiting for quite a while to see the Doctor Who spinoff, Torchwood, and now I finally get a chance on Comcast Ondemand (did I mention ... I hate Comcast). And guess what? Torchwood is kind of boring. The show doesn't make much sense, it really lacks aliens, is somehow devoid of the rampant sex it was advertised to have and well, is everything that Doctor Who isn't (in a bad way). I think the key problem is that the Doctor Who character is much more interesting, nuanced and complicated compared to Captain Jack (played by John Barrowman). Not that Captain Jack is a bad character as such, but he works much better as a sidekick or secondary character rather than a driving force. Instead, Torchwood, through the first 3 episodes, comes across as a sort of dull, British X-Files, but without the Mulder-conspiracy drama. I'm hoping the show gets its act together more, but otherwise I'll just be waiting until November when Season 3 of Doctor Who comes out on DVD (or 2012 when Season 3 of Battlestar Galactica comes out ... or thats when I expect it will come out, if ever).

25 September 2007

Return of the SHRIMP

Palo Alto is hot.

Zircons are hotter.

23 September 2007

Damn you clay minerals

If I hear about kaolinite or smectite in auriferous gravels again, I will get very mad.

Otherwise, the geology dept. field trip was fun ...

A two TIG reviews:
The Aliens (former Beta Band members) - Astronomy for Dogs
Fred Astereo - Don't Break My Heart

My current iPod Top 10:
1 The Opposite of Hallelujah - Jens Lekman
2 Pussy'ole (Old Skool) - Dizzee Rascal
3 Once and Never Again - the Long Blondes
4 Daydreamin' - Lupe Fiasco
5 Girls and Boys in Love - Rumble Strips
6 Stop Wearing Purple - Gogol Bordello
7 Mikrofonprofessor - Die Fantastischen Vier
8 The Heinrich Maneuver - Interpol
9 Geld Essen - K.I.Z.
10 (Bloody Paw on the) Killfloor - Busdriver

18 September 2007

While doing research for the seminar I will be leading here in the fall quarter, I discovered the tagline for Disaster Zone: Volcano in New York is ...

The next Pompeii is an eruption away.

Good times!

17 September 2007

Let's pretend that didn't happen.

Did I mention how much I dislike Derek Jeter?

To make myself feel better, I'll post a picture of Jacoby Ellsbury.

New two TIG reviews! The first is reeeal good, the second is so-so.
Jose Gonzalez - In Our Nature
Arctic Monkeys - Favourite Worst Nightmare


14 September 2007

Bam Pow Ugh!

Today's game might have been one of the biggest sucker punches I've felt since the '04 ALCS. 8-7 Yankers after a 7-2 lead. Ugly. We'll bounce back, but it definitely hurts the confidence.

11 September 2007

Apple Rules

Sorry all you Windows enthusiasts, but Apple rules. They just gave me a shiny new MacBook to replace my iBook after all my logic board problems. It is packed to the gills with features like a 120GB hard drive, dual layer DVD/CD burner, 1 GB RAM and a 2.6 GHz Intel processor. All for free! Like to see Dell do something like that ... trading in a 3 year old iBook for a new new new MacBook.

If anyone wants a spare power adapter for an iBook, let me know and I'll send you one!

07 September 2007

Cologne Photos

Here is the beginning of my photos from Cologne ...

A nerd-centric blog post

OK, hold onto your hats fellow nerds ... a number of things have me very excited:

1. Apparently, the BBC has greenlighted (greenlit?) a Ripper TV show/movie. Yes, we will get to see Rupert Giles, Buffy's watcher from BtVS (duh), solve mysteries as he comes out of retirement. After seeing Anthony Stewart Head in Season 2 of Doctor Who and on Little Britain, I am very excited to see him on his own show.

2. James Marsters, otherwise known as Spike from BtVS, will be appearing in Season 2 of the Doctor Who spinoff, Torchwood. Now, seeing both Marsters and Captain Jack (played by John Barrowman) in the same show will (hopefully) be something.

3. "Episodes" 1-5 of Season 8 of BtVS (sadly, only in comic book form), will be released as a graphic novel in November. I find it odd that I can't really bring myself to buy comic books, but if its bound as a "graphic novel," its AOK!

That's all the nerd news.

Here is another new review, too. Enjoy!
Rufus Wainwright - Release the Stars

05 September 2007

04 September 2007

New Reviews

Two new TIG reviews of albums I like a lot:
Architecture in Helsinki - Places Like This
New Pornographers - Challengers

And a new iPod top 10:
1 Pussy'ole (Old Skool) - Dizzee Rascal
2 Jack the Ripper (Demo) - the Horrors
3 The Heinrich Maneuver - Interpol
4 Heart It Races - Architecture in Helsinki
5 Magic Position - Patrick Wolf
6 Da Mystery of Chessboxin' - Wu Tang Clan
7 Failsafe - New Pornographers
8 Daydreamin' - Lupe Fiasco
9 The Smell of an Artist - Cats on Fire
10 Arms - Seabear

03 September 2007

Helsinki Photos

By popular demand, here are some photos from Helsinki. More to come once I rotate/fix some ... but here are some good ones.

Helsinki, Finland in August 2007.

28 August 2007

Back from Europe

Well, I made it back from Europe in one piece, no thanks to hell-on-Earth aka Paris' Charles de Gaulle airport. Anyway, I'll have much to say soon, but I'll preview with a random pic. More to come later ...

15 August 2007

Erik in Europe, Part 1

So I'm currently sitting on the floor in the Dusseldorf airport waiting to go to Helsinki and I thought I would point out a few things already:

1. My blogger account is showing all the instructions/menus in German.
2. My iBook has decided that this is an excellent time to start having logic board problems ... again! Luckily, I got approval to teach a Freshman Research Seminar, which comes with $1500 that I can spent on a computer, which I will be doing (unless Apple gives me a shiny new one because my iBook logic board, between the two they've given me already, has failed SIX TIMES).
3. I tried to buy a cheap mobile phone and could not get my phone card to work with it. I have no idea if I'm just an idiot, or AT&T are a bunch of liars or maybe the girl I bought it from in the airport was just confused, but I gave up. I just left the phone with the confused girl because I didn't want to drag around a phone that I couldn't call the US with, and who am I going to call in Germany? That's 10 euros (~$15) down the drain.
4. Speaking of down the drain, I am currently paying $10/hr to access the internet here at the airport.
5. Being in Germany marks the first time I've been in a country where I don't speak the language (considering I speak only Spanish and English). I do not like it at all. For one, I feel like the Ugly American when I have to admit to only speaking English. Two, I feel completely confused by very many things. The airport at least has signs in English and German, but the episode with the phone was an utter disaster.

Hopefully Helsinki will be more forgiving ... now, I think I will "Post Veroffentlichen" this post.

13 August 2007

So It Begins...

I leave tomorrow morning for my trip to Finland and Germany. The Finnish portion is merely for fun, the German will involve a conference, but conferences are always sort of fun, so its all good. It would give me some time to not think about this or at least attempt to not think about it).

I've packed my iPod with about 20 episodes of Monty Python's Flying Circus along with 2 episodes of James Burke's excellent Connections. I have all sorts of goodies on my laptop, but I don't think the battery is what it used to be. Hope Delta is showing something interesting on my flight from Atlanta to Dusseldorf. Then I'm off to Helsinki where I plan to visit a fort, frequent record shops, buy a soccer jersey and try to see what I can see. I'll try to post pictures when I can ...

07 August 2007

New Top 10

Busy with preparation for my meeting in Cologne and my trip to Helsinki next week. I'm hoping to be able to update with pictures while I'm in Europe ... we'll see.

Here's my current iPod top 10:
1 "Pussy'ole (Old Skool)" by Dizzee Rascal
2 "Jack the Ripper" (Demo) by The Horrors
3 "The Heinrich Maneuver" by Interpol
4 "Fast Car" by Xiu Xiu
5 "Heart It Races" by Architecture in Helsinki
6 "The Magic Position" by Patrick Wolf
7 "Da Mystery of Chessboxin'" by the Wu-Tang Clan
8 "Illustrate the History" by BOAT
9 "They Got Away" by Built to Spill
10 "Failsafe" by the New Pornographers

04 August 2007

Passport Saga, Part 3

My passport arrived today! My faith in government has returned, albeit a faith based on persistent nagging, intervention of congress and extreme stress. Does that count?

02 August 2007


I got radium data today! Huzzah! Take that Becquerel!

Oh yes, new TIG review too...

Chemical Brothers - We are the Night (Hint: I trash it).

01 August 2007

KG makes Papi look small

This amuses me. New Celtic Kevin Garnett makes Big Papi look like a little man.

30 July 2007

The Passport Drama ... continued

Alright, so, my passport may or may not be coming in the near future. Of course, I mailed it to the Passport folks months ago, so it should have been here by now, but whatever, that can't be fixed. What can be fixed is what I had to do to get any answers. These things included ...

1. Calling the 1-877 number provided by the Passport Agency, which lead me to have a short, unhelpful conversation with a customer service rep who more or less told me "well, too bad for you." Admittedly, they probably can't promise anything, and even said so, but really, why bother having a phone service at all? And jeez, the menus/recorded messages took three times as long as the conversation. On the plus side, I was only on hold for maybe 5-8 minutes.

2. Emailing the Passport Agency via their web form = useless. It just tells you what you already know.

3. Follow the advice of #1 and call my local Passport Office (San Fran) to schedule an appointment. I did this at 3 AM Pacific time and had to call EIGHT TIMES to get through because they said they were getting "high call volumes". At 3 A.M. PDT/6 A.M. EDT? Ridiculous. When I did get through, after being threatened that I had to have a departure date that was sooner that 8/14 and had to bring proof of that (by the way, this is all automated), I tried to make an appointment. The SOONEST that was available was noon on 8/13! Yes, the day before. Ridiculous. Made the damn appointment anyway as a back up.

4. Emailing your local congressman or senator. This is apparently one of the ONLY ways to get anywhere. I emailed Mike Thompson (D - Ca) and, oddly, John Kerry (D - Ma ). Not sure why I emailed Kerry beyond the fact that he helped my parents before and I've voted for him many times now (2 for senator, 2 for president if you count primaries and generals). I didn't hear anything from either office until today, when I got an email and call from a nice lady at Mike Thompson's office who said she would call and get to the bottom of this.

5. Searching the web for other lost souls. This is how I found an internal email address for the Portsmouth NH Passport Processing Facility. Using this email, I was actually able to get a proper answer to the status of my passport! The person told me that it would be Fedexed to me in the next 5-7 days and they gave me a tracking number. Of course, I am no fool, so I'm not holding my breath.

So, there you have it. After utilizing a big pile of contacts and using up an immense amount of time, I was able to find out that you really need to grease the wheels to potentially get your passport on time. Of course, I still haven't gotten it and even if I do, I did lose a night's sleep and $55 to buy a copy of my birth certificate (which, incidentally, I ordered on a Wednesday and received it on the following Friday - 2 days later). I suppose I shouldn't have tried to be a good citizen and mail things with plenty of time. Instead, I should have mailed it in a hurry and paid my official "bribe" (aka, "Expedite Fee") to get it with less stress.

The government really misstepped here with the passport and again seems to show the unfortunate weakness of this whole Homeland Security mess - it isn't going to do any good if you don't put money behind your ideas. Anyway, how does causing all Americans to get passports help fight terrorism when they can get passports from another country anyway? This is all part of the Orwellian future that the Bush administration salivates over, where they can keep us under their thumb. It is never a good sign for a country when they start trying to convince us that war is in fact peace and order is in fact freedom.

27 July 2007

Passport Blues

Busy week in the lab.
Anybody know how to get one's passport processing to speed up short of getting the President to show up to force their hand? I'm getting a little nervous now that its been 10 weeks.

Here is my iPod top 10:

1 Pussy'ole (Old Skool) by Dizzee Rascal
2 Jack the Ripper (Demo Version) by the Horrors
3 Fast Car by Xiu Xiu
4 The Magic Position by Patrick Wolf
5 (Bloody Paw on the) Kill Floor by Busdriver
6 Almost Ready by Dinosaur Jr.
7 The Heinrich Maneuver by Interpol
8 Da Mystery of Chessboxin' by the Wu-Tang Clan
9 Fists Up by the Blow
10 Baby Fratelli by the Fratellis

19 July 2007

Erik as a Simpson

I posted this on TIG, but I'll post it here too.

Erik as a Simpson!

You too can try this at the website for The Simpsons Movie. I'm still scared that the movie might be a trainwreck, but ah well. {Thanks to Jeff for guiding me to this link}.

And here is a new TIG review for one of my favorite albums so far this year:
Dizzee Rascal - Maths + English
Also enjoy:
Palomar - All Things, Forests

17 July 2007

13 July 2007

New Music

I have a new TIG review for two albums for which I am very fond, maybe you will be, too.

YACHT - I Believe in You. Your Magic is Real.
Maximo Park - Our Earthly Pleasures

I'm also going to start reposting my iPod top 10 here, too (along with in my TIG profile page).

1. 'Jack the Ripper' by The Horrors
2. 'The Magic Position' by Patrick Wolf
3. 'Almost Ready' by Dinosaur Jr.
4. 'Pussy'Ole (Old Skool)' by Dizzee Rascal
5. 'Fast Car' by Xiu Xiu
6. 'Fists Up' by the Blow
7. 'Ragoo' by Kings of Leon
8. 'Pump Up the Volume' by Art Brut
9. 'Someone Great' by LCD Soundsystem
10. 'I Believe In You' by YACHT

Off to MBARI and Monterey this weekend. Woo!

09 July 2007

Entertaining in more ways than one

It has been a busy week with my sister and parents visiting from parts east. I have taken combinations of them to Chinatown (SF), Old Town Sacramento and Mt. Diablo - I might have some pics later on. All I know is that entertaining tires me out.

Two new TIG Reviews
Art Brut - It's a Bit Complicated (one of my favorite reviews I've written in a while)
The Horrors - Strange House

Here are a couple songs I've had stuck in my head lately:
Xiu Xiu - Fast Car (yes, a cover of that "Fast Car")
Busdriver - Imaginary Places

03 July 2007

New Review

Here is a new TIG Review

The Clientele - God Save the Clientele

I did a pretty good job with my All Star picks. Now, go vote for Hideki Okajima for the Last Man.

29 June 2007

2007 All Star Roster

Here's my (semi)perfect all star rosters - this year in San Francisco!

19 position, 12 pitchers

I picked a representative for all the MLB teams - which made for some fun decisions (Snell vs. Gorzelanny vs. Nady? Upton vs. Shields vs. Harris? Cordero vs. ... Dmitri Young?!)

25 June 2007

It's called "synergy" people!

Yes indeed. Without Bronson Arroyo to play music for the Sox, we had to fill the void. And here it is: a compilation CD of songs that Daisuke Matsuzaka loves!

Music from the Mound by Daisuke "Dice K" Matsuzaka

Oh my!

24 June 2007

Otters and Beckett

We went to the coast. We almost got lost many times trying to find Shelter Cove. We saw an otter. Otters are way cool.

While I was away, Josh Beckett beat Jake Peavy. Now thats way cool too.

20 June 2007

15 June 2007

International travel ahoy!

So I finally made all my travel arrangements to go to Cologne, Germany for the Goldschmidt 2007 meeting (where I will be talking on the timescales of crystallization in rhyolite magmas!) Anyway, it took me a while (because I get obsessed with finding the perfect flights) and I will be traveling:

Sacramento to Atlanta to Dusseldorf to Berlin to Helsinki to Munich to Cologne to Dusseldorf to Paris to Atlanta to Sacramento.

Indeed. The Helsinki leg is for 4 days as a vacation of sorts. Cologne is for the meeting. I'm sure I'll have loads of things to say about my first (yes, first) trip to the continent.

Oh yes, two new TIG reviews:
Dinosaur Jr. - Beyond
Voxtrot - Voxtrot

And the Red Sox won (the fasten seat belt sign has been turned off) 10-2 today, with my new favorite Sox Dustin Pedroia going 5 for 5 with 5 RBI. Plucky little Woodland native!

Red Sox Flight 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, you may have noticed I've put the seat beat sign back on. We'll be experience some light to intermediate chop for the next hundred miles, so for you safety and for those around you, please return to your seat and fasten your seatbelt. Thank you.

11 June 2007

World Travel

So last night I was looking for tickets to fly to Germany this summer for a meeting and I said to Susan "Boy, wouldn't it be great if there was a website that allowed you to look at a map of a region and see what places would be cheapest to fly to." Lo and behold, there is such a thing. It is kind of cool to peruse just to see the ridiculousness of airfares in general ... and the fact that apparently the cheapest place in Europe to fly these days from Sacramento is Cologne, Germany, my very destination.

Enjoy: Fare Compare Maps

08 June 2007

Paris: Back in Jail

My reaction to Paris being dragged screaming out of the courtroom and back to jail? "How delightful!"

New TIG review:
Ghost Stories - Quixoticism

07 June 2007

Paris isn't in jail anymore.

I'm very disappointed that Paris Hilton was released from jail today after 3 days (of her already reduced 23 days) because she was having "psychological" problems, i.e., she didn't like being in jail. Well tough. Maybe we should just release everyone who doesn't like being in jail. This is why this country is going downhill fast because we let rich folks - be they celebrities or business types - do whatever they want. Bah!

And the Red Sox lost, yet again. Bah!

06 June 2007


The Red Sox got shut-out for 6 innings by former Sox farmhand Lenny DiNardo whose stellar line included 6 BB and 0K. Huh?

A new TIG review!
Brakes - The Beatific Vision

05 June 2007

Red Sox 4, Oakland 5

I was in attendance last night for the Red Sox 11 inning loss to the A's in Oakland. It was a tough game for the team after playing three long games against the Yankees in Boston and then flying out last Sunday night to get to Oakland for Monday's game. Heck, Papelbon and Okajima were both unavailable and 4 of the Sox regular starters were AWOL from the starting lineup (Varitek, Lowell, Crisp & Lugo), so the fact that after 9 innings, the game was tied 4-4, it seemed like a little bit of a miracle. This was magnified by the fact that the starters were Oakland ace and AL ERA leader Dan Haren vs. AL Weirdness leader Julian Tavarez. A few observations from the game:

1 - Julian Tavarez is a perfectly serviceable 5th starter - he did a good job at getting ahead of many hitters, but couldn't put them away, especially pesky Mark Ellis.
2 - Brendan Donnelly looked pretty sharp for a while ... Joel Piniero, on the other hand, did not.
3 - J.D. Drew and Julio Lugo look completely lost at the plate - they swung at garbage last night - what is their deal?
4 - Wily Mo went from goat to almost hero, trading some fielding gaffes for a big (I mean HUGE) HR and the tying single in the 9th. He'll get better if he can get more playing time.
5 - The A's really have no bullpen.

And hey, here are two more TIG Reviews

Patrick Wolf - The Magic Position
Kings of Leon - Because of the Times

02 June 2007

Torre is a sad bastard

I think I'm going to call Joe Torre "Dead Dog" from now on because he looks like someone killed his dog every time they show him in the dugout.

The odd 2007 Red Sox

So it's the 4th inning in today's Sox-Yankees game and its tied 1-1. The Yankers scored on a Melky HR but the Red Sox scored on a Wily Mo double, a Crisp sac bunt and a Lugo groundout. Weird, those runnin' Sox? There is a also an old, fat man spraying water on all the Yankees players in the dugout and the pressbox is full of nerds with laptops - which I suppose isn't surprising. Maybe I'll update some more later on, but Curt looks OK so far.

01 June 2007

Review Update

Here's a pile of new(ish) reviews

The Earlies - The Enemy Chorus

The Klaxons - Myths of the Near Future
Bright Eyes - Cassadaga
Ted Leo & the Pharmacists - Living with the Living
Amon Tobin - Foley Room
Clint Mansell, the Kronos Quartet & Mogwai - Original Soundtrack to the Fountain
Dntel - Dumb Luck
The Long Blondes - Someone to Drive You Home

I also a feed of the last 3 postings to my daily TIG column, iPod Roulette, the resurrected (and now consistent) Shuffle of the Day. Look in the upper right hand corner for a daily dose of iPod randomness. I also added a link to the TIG Imagi-Blog feed where you can find me posting (just look for Erik Gonzalez).

Wow, an even longer pause

Alright, yes, I've neglected the blog for a while. May was a very busy month, and as I mentioned before, most of my blogging energy has been focused to Three Imaginary Girls. However, I'm going to try to be a little more diligent here, focusing back on science & baseball. Yeah! If you're curious what I've been busy with, here it is: 1 NSF Proposal on zircon that involved collecting a whole bunch of data before writing; 1 Final submission of a paper to Bulletin of Volcanology - finally accepted for publication!; 1 massive editing-fest for another paper that will be headed for a special volume being published by the Royal Society of Edinburgh; 1 proposal to teach a research seminar on "Volcanoes and Human Culture" and 1 day (a solid 24 hours) of running samples on the SHRIMP-RG at Stanford. Yeah, a little busy. In fact, I finally got back to reviewing CDs only this week after about a month of nothing. I'll try to compile a list of reviews since I last listed a review and post that in a bit.

Anyway, anybody notice that the Red Sox are an MLB best 36-16, with a 10 game lead on the second place (wait for it) Baltimore Orioles (?!) and a mere 13.5 games up on the (wait for it) last place New York Yankees? Go figure. It's been one of the strangest seasons to be a Red Sox fan in a long time ... and they're 20 games over .500 with no hitting from J.D. Drew (.226 AVE), Julio Lugo (.291 OBP), Coco Crisp (.229 AVE) and only so-so output from Manny and Big Papi. Heck, Mike Lowell has the team lead in HR with 10, yet somehow the team has one of the best offenses in the league. And the pitching has been sharp too, even with Matsuzaka's ups and downs. Crazy!