The game yesterday
was a good example of heading in the right direction but not in the
right ways. Yes, the game did result in a win. Yes,
Engram continued to show why he was a Pro Bowl contender (even
though I like him as a player, he's sadly in the same division as
the likes of T.O., so it's natural for Engram to be denied on his
best year as a receiver). Yes, even Alexander was able to have
some amazing runs that seemed reminiscent of the 2005
Alexander...hell, he even made a receiving touch down. Yes,
there was so much good going on...with the most obvious being the
defense that kept Baltimore scoreless for the first three quarters
of the game while the Seahawks pulled in quite a few offensive
points. However, there were issues.
The first and most
obvious issue being that Hasselbeck could not control his judgment.
It is good to pass and it's gutsy and well rewarded when you pass
into traffic successfully. However, it's also a dangerous and
risky maneuver that can (and did) lead to interceptions. That
is something not needed after the post-season comes into effect...in
just a couple of weeks. Hasselbeck is a rhythm quarterback,
and that can both be his greatest asset and his undoing. It's
good since it means that once Hasselbeck finds a rhythm, he will
continue a drive against all odds and will not allow the opposing
defense a chance to get out of any hole they are digging.
However, it also means that if his receivers get stuck in their
lanes, then he will throw the ball on faith and watch his rhythm
turn into an easy interception. The type of interceptions he
was lobbing all day yesterday. The only bright side, in my
eyes, was that the Seahawks still pulled off a win despite this big
I, more than anything,
have two real thoughts on the game yesterday. The first being
that the refs were even more not on their game than Hasselbeck was.
It was seen in the first interception thrown by Hasselbeck...the one
that included about the most obvious pass interference call that did
not get called. The ball was in the air and our receiver
(forget who it was, but it was probably Engram since he's the go to
receiver for the 'Hawks) was being obviously held by the defense.
It was ignored by the refs and was later only remembered by the fans
and the announcing crew. There was also (only a minute or two
later) the obvious bounced ball that was called a reception until
Holmgren threw down the challenge. That pass should have never
been called good, but was despite all logic. To show I'm not
only in favor of the 'Hawks (I do have to cheer for the home team,
however), there was also the fumble that Seattle recovered far later
in the game and became a quick TD. It was too hard of a play
to overturn based on the video angles captured, but was obviously a
ball coming loose after the offensive player was down.
I say all of this not
as a Seahawks fan, but rather a fan of a good game. I like to
see the game played out in true quality. Let the plays be
called correctly so we can truly see the match up for what it is.
It's a game of one team versus another...not one team versus another
while the refs have the influence to make it into a completely
different situation. When the two teams are not an even match,
like yesterday, the refs cannot do too much damage. However, a
close game can be changed too easily, and this is where the refs
need to be on their game. Hopefully this is not an issue in
the post season when teams are usually more evenly matched.
The other major issue
I have is this; please...NFL...please...cancel your contract with
CBS. They have bad play by play guys, but more than that, CBS
has ancient equipment that is not conductive to a football
broadcast. While Fox shows wonderful HD digital signals and
can give a game with brilliant coverage, CBS instead just stutters
in it's performance. For example, anyone watching the Seattle
game yesterday, on digital, will obviously have noticed, while the
play by play team kept apologizing for technical issues, that the
game looked like a Youtube video being streamed off of a dial up
connection. It was plagued by more digital artifacts than
usual for a CBS broadcast...and that's saying something since any
CBS game suffers from artifacting.
On top of that, CBS
could never get their HD broadcast into 16:9. So, while the
earlier Fox game was in beautiful widescreen, and while previous
games for Seattle shown on Fox are all a treat to the HD audience
(which is what the NFL likes to advertise about their league...HD
digital viewing for true quality), CBS suffers and fails to give a
good name to the NFL experience. It's so tiresome that I'm
known around my home to swear out loud when I realize that the game
will be shown on CBS and not on Fox. I literally let out a
loud "F#@$!" like I had just slammed a door on my finger if I see
that my much enjoyed game is going to be stuck in a land of ancient
digital equipment than can never be properly viewed.
It only gets worse
when you think about the CBS sports ticker at the bottom of the
screen. If the game is in 4:3 (which is already a failure on
the CBS broadcast team), then you can read most of the ticker.
On the other hand, when the game is in 16:9 (which is how it should
be) then you can only read the top 1/4 of the single line of text
that makes the sports ticker. I may be there for the Seahawk
game, but I still want to know how the opposition is doing. I
want to know, for example, how the Buc's are fairing against S.F.
since the third seed is riding on if the Buc's fail or the Seahawks
fail. It's still a close race and that extra height in the
post season can mean a lot.
Anyway, enough bitching
about that. The game was a win, and I'm on vacation.
That's enough grounds on it's own for me to be in a good mood.
So, I'll drop this and simply end by saying happy holidays to
all...and may CBS get a lump of shit in their stocking if their are
not going to live up to the challenge of being an NFL broadcaster.
It's been a
chaotic last few days. The main lesson I learned; poultry is not
nice when it comes to cooking for a group. No matter how much it
should have been done an hour ago...it will not be done until it's
damned well and ready.
I had a good music
filled Christmas. Between the gifts from Velveta (a good haul of
Social Distortion swag) and that Harmonix had their first release of
Rock Band tracks to not be on the initial schedule, music was
definitely the flavor of the day. True, Harmonix hit us up with a
good amount of emo (and I mean the modern casual "emo" and not the
original post-hardcore punk "emo") music...but all the tracks are
fun to play. Ok, one of them is not. I could not get into Attack.
I only tried the
songs on hard (guitar, of course), and most of them were a blast.
The Kill was especially fun with it's note progression. My only
complaint came down to Attack having the most mundane note
progression possible. Also, I think I'm getting worn down on the
songs that last too long with just the machine gun style of notes.
All Attack was is a long series of machine gun notes. It's hard to
fail a song like that, but it's so damned exhausting and tedious
that it's just note enjoyable when the song closes.
At least it's good
to see that Harmonix is going to keep up the trend of Tuesday
releases, even after the original calendar was concluded (eight days
ago). I just hope we soon start to see some more of the hyped and
anticipated songs. In particular, we still need a whole album (Who's
Next, maybe), some more Metallica (Master of Puppets would be nice
about now), and I know that I would lose all control of myself if
some Tool actually found it's way to Rock Band. Most of all, I still
think Rock Band could use a nice dose of Social D to rock out some
of the earlier tiers of the instruments.
Anyway, I'm now
making my way through the solo guitar career on expert. I'm up to
the fifth set of songs and have only had one annoying problem so
far...the song from The New Pornographers. It's not that it's a hard
song, but it's just too damned fatiguing. I can rock out the first
half of the song, but I always face some struggles to keep the
energy flowing for the last couple of minutes.
By playing expert
on solo mode, I think the one thing I've noticed the most is that a
good deal of the songs that gave me problems on hard (Suffragette
City and Main Offender in particular) are actually easier on expert.
The same applies to even some not-so-hard songs on hard, like I
Think I'm Paranoid (which I can constantly score 100% on on expert,
but usually get around a 99% on hard). Maybe I'm more suited to the
harder note scales of expert, but I think it's more likely that I'm
just more suited for the quicker note progressions of expert and how
you play every note (so you don't have the phantom noises of a note
playing but nothing being done by you, the player).
keeping this short. I'm tired since this is my first work day (and
early wake up call) for a few days. Plus, I have a few too many
belated holiday wishes to send forth.
I started a little
over a week ago with a simple concept; instead of praising the last
year, like may web sites have done, I would instead pick out what
was wrong. This would be a good way to get some shit off my mind and
to fill in the magical time that is the last two weeks of the year
(the time when news stops coming as everyone goes on vacation).
That plan is going
to crap. Not because I enjoyed the last year too much to bitch about
it, but rather because 2007 was just not that interesting from any
perspective. The games of 2007 were, bluntly put, not that
Yes, there were
some highly anticipated games, like Mass Effect, Halo 3, Mario
Galaxy (A.K.A. "UR MR GAY"), GH3, and Rock Band. But, aside from RB
and UR MR GAY, nothing was worth paying attention to. Mass Effect
(and I'll keep it short this time) was not all that thrilling and
felt like a strong beta test, Halo 3 didn't really get the fanfare
that Microsoft expected, and GH3 showed that Neversoft just made
2007 was just a
very boring year and most of what could have changed that tide was
delayed into 2008. I doubt I'd be able to talk about the end of the
year next year without mentioning Smash Brawl at least a dozen times
(check back in one year and you'll see what I mean). There were just
so many games that didn't live up to the one thing I had really
counted on from them; good or bad, I expected more games to be
worthy of talking about. However, the truth of the matter is that
with one or two exceptions, 2007 was a year that had failures and
successes...but none that were spectacularly on either side.
The only real
noteworthy events were the ones that came from Sony. Be it the
removal of Kutaragi, the jumping on price shifts and product
changes, the racist or incredibly insane and offensive ideas for
commercials, the attempt to force a failing portable onto a populace
more than happy with love and respect from Nintendo, and all of
their other random crap. The only real news of 2007 that even stands
out in my mind is that Sony has proven that success in the past does
not mean success is guaranteed in the future...but then again, just
like how 2007 didn't feel all that new in my mind, Nintendo had done
that with the Virtual Boy and the N-64 in the past.
In fact, the only
thing that stands out to me about the whole of this previous year
were three little games. Puzzle Quest and Rock Band, which were two
unlikely candidates for RPG of the year (I consider Rock Band a nice
twist on RPGs when you take Band World Tour into mind and the quest
it lays out for you), were beyond noteworthy. Then there was Picross
DS (along with Puzzle Quest, as a tie for puzzle game of 2007) and
how Nintendo kept offering hundreds of new puzzles, for free,
invoking true downloadable content onto a portable. Speaking of
which, Picross addicts take note, three new packs (total of around
27 or 28 puzzles) came out this week.
I just feel like
2007 was the hangover that followed the incredible insanity that had
to follow the party year that was 2006 (as three consoles battled
for supremacy in a new age). In fact, 2007 was like the morning
after a huge party. I felt like I woke up in a strange house that I
didn't recognize, but once my eyes adjusted, I had been there before
and knew the place well. Some people didn't go home with who they
came with (exclusive titles jumped to multiple platforms or even
gave the former competition platform some additional love over their
original date). However, in the end, the massive party just felt
like another episode in life and it was all laid to rest as we
stepped forward into the fatigue filled day (or year) that would
simply be taken at a slower pace in order to give us all a chance to
rest and recover.
Anyway, I need to
wrap this up since threats of snow loom in the Seattle area...which
means I need to get some work done so I can head home at the first
word of snow (I don't aim to get trapped at work).
Malik (now known
as the supposedly classy name of "Malek" on Rock Band...sigh...)
For the last week
I have felt a bit worn down. I think it's the fact that the calm is
finally here between the storms of Christmas and New Years. It's
like a small break between two days that just require too much
energy and preparation time.
Anyway, I think
this post will be quite short as I just have too little to really
discuss today. I've been too tired to do much beyond watching some
bad movies (Santa Claus Conquers the Martians on Christmas day and
the really poorly acted Takashi Miike film Imprint last night
starring the worst acting I've seen...mainly the bad acting was via
Billy Drago). I would get in some time with Rock Band, but it's just
been too damned tempting to plant my ass on a couch than to stand up
and try to rock out solo style.
At least tonight
will be a night of Rock Band goodness as my usual Friday night gig
goes down (with the Doctor Philosophers).
Speaking of Rock
Band, I was thinking about how there is no (as far as I know) widely
available schedule of Tuesday releases for downloadable content. The
schedule ended on the 18th with some Wheezer, Pretenders, and Radio
Head. I have not seen any new schedule yet, and I can't help but
It was fun knowing
what was coming along each week. I loved knowing when RB first
launched that I was going to have Metallica from day one. I also
liked knowing that the Black Sabbath pack was one the horizon.
However, now that so many heavy hitters are here, it's almost more
fun to go blindly into each Tuesday and be excited that the unknown
is being laid out for my pleasure.
There is just
something about not knowing what's coming any more that is making
the idea of DLC that much more exciting and suspenseful. True, a
Tuesday can now come and go with my excitement being turned into
disappointment. However, if Harmonix plays their cards right, it can
be even more exciting to see something pulled out of left field that
really makes me stop and think about the possibilities.
I just hope that
Harmonix continues to surprise with some lower priced songs. I read
on a message board something that really matched my thinking on the
songs released this last Tuesday...if these songs were 160 points
($2) each, I would have skipped them (or most of them), but with
them coming in at $1 it was different. $1 feels more comfortable to
spend on something relatively unknown to me, while a $2 song makes
me think that I'd only really get it if it's a song I want. I can't
help but wonder how many people bought these recent $1 songs, not
because they liked the songs, but rather because they were so cheap
that it wouldn't really hurt the wallet much to have them.
The other thing I
hope Harmonix does is some surprises of some less expected of bands.
I mean we all know The Who are coming with Who's Next...at some
point in time. However, a ska pack, maybe some Social D, maybe
some...well, there's too many bands and genres to think about.
However, I hope that we start to get something other than just
classic rock (mainly covers) and radio friendly modern pop-rock.
Anyway, it's time
to wrap up this series of rambling thoughts. I may or may not post
on Monday (New Years Eve) since I may or may not be trapped in a
series of steps to prepare for things going down.
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