Why the Mariners will continue to lose

Willie Bloomquist

The Seattle Mariners are in a sorry state right now, and it sounds like the interim manager wants to keep it that way.

His comments regarding the playing time of a certain Willie Bloomquist:

“We need to keep his energy in the game,” manager Jim Riggleman said. “He adds something to the lineup every time he’s out there.”

Willie Bloomquist. He of the 0 HR, 5 RBI in 77 AB. Sure, his OBP this year is .367, but his career OBP is a paltry .317 with a SLG of .325. Yes, this is what you need in the Mariners lineup whose team OBP this season is barely above .300. Sigh, maybe someday the ‘ners will send Wee Willie out to pasture for good. Until then, enjoy the time remaining Seattlites!

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The Erik Gonzalez 100 Defined

So, in the near future, I will be starting a series called The Erik Gonzalez 100. This is a list. I know you love lists! I actually usually hate lists because they usually try to call them things like “The best albums of the last 20 years” or “The most important albums of the decade”. Anyone (or group of ones) that claim that they can define “the best” or “most important” empirically is full of s&%t, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

How is The Erik Gonzalez 100 different? It is a list of my current, all-time favorite albums ever. Note the usage of the term “favorite”. This does not mean I think they are the “best” music. They are not albums I think everyone should own (although you might be happy if you did). These albums are not the most important or most influential of their time. They are not the most timeless or poignant. “What are they?” you ask. They are the albums that I love the most, albums that I return to year after year, albums that when I remember they exist, they warm my heart when the sound comes out of the speakers. They are my favorites.

However, this does not mean it is an entirely qualitative list. No, I don’t think my brain could deal with trying to rank 100+ albums purely qualitatively. So, what am I doing to try to add some quantity to my quality? Here are the criteria (Inspired by some of the equations in John Sellers’ Perfect From Now On. Rated 1 to 10 – low to high, unless noted):

  1. Repeated listenability: Does the album stand up to repeated listening?
  2. Great track proportion: More or less, the # of “great tracks” (to me) divided by total tracks. This will be normalized after all the albums are assessed and then scored as above.
  3. Terrible track proportion: The same as #2, but in reverse. How many “terrible tracks” (to me) divided by total tracks.
  4. “Filler”: What portion of the album smacks of filler, e.g., skits, instrumentals, gibberish, etc. More filler takes away from the overall “greatness” of the album.
  5. Timelessness: Do I love the album as much now as when it was first released? Do I love it more?
  6. Album Cover Art: A minor component, but great albums tend to have great cover art as well.
  7. Album in the Oeuvre: Where does the album stand in the overall discography of the artist?
  8. Overall greatness: How would I define the wonderfulness of the album compared to other albums on the list.
The list will likely get posted in 10 posts of 10 albums. Not sure when I am starting. Currently, I have a long-list of 288 potential albums that I need to whittle down to ~150, for which I will apply these criteria. After that, I can begin to get a ranked list in order and post it with blurbs on each disc. Stay tuned … and feel free to add any comments about my suggested methodology. 

Getting back on track

Back on Track

So, I’ve been in a bit of a music funk lately. Not sure why, but nothing caught my attention and I couldn’t really get in the mood to write any new reviews. I suppose this happens to everyone, but I’ve slowly been attempting to reboot and get back on track.

I was going to post a new top 10 from my iPod, but it is a mess right now. I mean, of the Top 20 songs right now, 8 are from the new Girl Talk album, Feed the Animals, which I recommend to everyone, everywhere (heck, you can download for a price of your choosing). I’ve also been quite fond of the new Fleet Foxes album, but it doesn’t even register on my iPod playcount because I listened to the physical CD while working in the lab (a real CD? Go figure). My other recent acquisition that has gotten a lot of playing is the Silver Jews Lookout Mountain, Lookout Sea.

Oddly, the late spring releases, on the whole, have sort of disappointed me. I was really looking forward to the new Islands record, Arm’s Way but it fell flat. Death Cab for Cutie’s Narrow Stairs just hasn’t stuck, but then again both Transatlanticism and Plans took a few months to sink in. El Perro Del Mar’s From the Valley to the Stars was just a little too laid back to the point of narcolepsy and the Long Blondes’ “Couples” was a disaster compared to the treat that was their first album. Maybe this has been why I’ve been unable to stay focussed on music lately: too much disappointment.