Outside We Wait ‘Til Our Face Turns Blue

Well, it was half-ass week here at DG.  The funny thing is I got a lot of thoughts for stuff, but just didn’t get anything down.

So, in keeping with that theme, here’s a random half of ten songs and half of two music videos.

Random Ten Five Songs

Onesidezero – Shed the Skin
Pixies – Here Comes Your Man
Nine Inch Nails – The Only Time
Dredg – The Canyon Behind Her
The Replacements – Favorite Thing

“The Canyon Behind Her” is right up there on my top songs list, actually, all of these are pretty good.

A Single Video

What defines phoning it in better than the Butthole Surfers weirding everybody out on MTV?

Butthole Surfers – Wooden Song

It’s not in the spirit of the random ten to just leave it at five, so here’s to filling everything out.

Korn – Fake
Sonic Youth – Teen Age Riot
Nine Inch Nails – 08 Ghosts I
The White Stripes – Offend in Every Way
Foo Fighters – Doll

Love picking out “Offend in Every Way” on the guitar when I can. The NIN “Ghosts” albums are a really cool instrumental project. Not something I listen to every day, but I enjoy it whenever it comes up on the iPod.

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I Remain In Shadows, Growing Wings

No new music this week, still listening to Dan Auerbach, Heartless Bastards, and Meat Puppets.  Maybe next week I’ll have something new.

Random Ten Songs

Rage Against the Machine – Bombtrack
Foo Fighters – The Pretender
Queens of the Stone Age – Into the Hollow
Rage Against the Machine – Asleep Now in the Fire
A.F.I. – Girl’s Not Grey
Led Zeppelin – The Rover
A.F.I. – Rabbits Are Roadkill on Rt. 37
System of a Down – BYOB
A.F.I. – The Nephilim
Black Keys – Act Nice and Gentle

Pretty modern rock radio friendly first half to that list. Also, apparently my iPod was craving some AFI tonight.

Two Videos

In case you didn’t get enough AFI and RATM in the random ten.

A.F.I. – Totalimmortal

Rage Against the Machine – Guerilla Radio

Playoff Wins Analysis

Given the data I posted over the last couple of days (Goals For, Goals Against, Power Play, and Penalty Kill vs. Playoff Wins) I figured I should take a look and see what trends emerge.

I divided things into quadrants, and looked at the top and bottom for each statistic.  With 48 playoff teams in the last three years, I was looking for about 12 teams in each sample.

Goals For –

Lowest Quadrant (< league average) – 14 teams, 5 series wins

Highest Quadrant (>10% above league average) – 12 teams, 18 series wins

Goals Against –

Lowest Quadrant (< league average) – 11 teams, 7 series wins

Highest Quadrant (>15% above league average) – 12 teams, 10 series wins

Power Play % –

Lowest Quadrant (< league average) – 14 teams, 7 series wins

Highest Quadrant (>10% above league average) – 11 teams, 19 series wins

Penalty Kill % –

Lowest Quadrant (<1% below league average) – 12 teams, 7 series wins

Highest Quadrant (>3% above league average) – 10 teams, 11 series wins

So that seems to contradict the saying “defense wins championships”.  The two categories that show the most difference betwixt the highest and lowest quadrants are Goals Scored and Power Play %.  So, you ask, what do those numbers look like on the same plot?

gf-ppX-axis is Goals Scored, and Y-axis is PP%.

So, teams that are less than 10% above average on both PP% and GF are not very likely to advance deep into the playoffs.  32 teams fit that description, and they have 17 series wins among them.  I don’t particularly like those odds (the outlier there is Edmonton’s trip to the Finals in ’06).  On the other hand, the teams more than 10% above average on both PP% and GF have 9 series wins among 7 teams. Leaving 19 series victories among the other 9 teams, so I guess you want your team to be really good at one of the two, but not both?  (Actually, that’s overanalyzing a really small sample size, so ignore that.)

So let’s look at the Western Conference of the current season and see who fits the mold of a possible playoff success story.

westHoly crap, Detroit is way out there (+29% GF, +42%(!) PP%).  Also Chicago and San Jose are >10% in both categories.  The rest of the conference is pretty mediocre, but a few teams have a good power play (St. Louis, Anaheim, and Minnesota are +13%, +12%, and +11% respectively in PP%).  Unfortunately, all three seem to lack the scoring punch in general (particularly the Wild) to make it to the playoffs, which is the first step toward a successful playoff run.

Now, I realize that predicting Detroit, San Jose, and Chicago as frontrunners in the conference doesn’t take this much analysis, but when I started making these plots I didn’t know exactly where it was going, and it was interesting to see how important offense is to a deep playoff run.

Finally, for those who are wondering, the East looks like this:

PP% >10% above average – Washington (+25%), Boston (+22%), Philadelphia (+21%)

GF >10% above average – Boston (+17%), Washington (+15%), Philadelphia (+12%)

Playoff Wins vs. Reg Season GF/GA

Data from the three post-lockout playoff runs.  Y-axis is playoff wins.  X-axis is percentage difference from average for that season.

gfGoals against is next (positive percentage means less goals allowed than average).

gaFinally, a plot of both GF and GA with color coding for advancement in the playoffs. (GF on X-axis, GA on Y-axis)

gf-gaTomorrow I’ll post the power-play and penalty kill numbers.  Hopefully, Thursday will bring some analysis of all this data as well as a look at the 2008-2009 season, and where current teams fit in this data.

Pitchers and Catchers Have Reported

… makes you want to do a little dance doesn’t it?

or maybe just enjoy a bowl of chowder?

Parties of whole-souled fellows are going to express their gratitude to Heaven for its manifold blessings, to-morrow, by playing ball and eating chowder. They could not have selected a more appropriate and sensible method of doing it, as a man is never on so good terms with his God and fellow men, as when he is enjoying himself in healthy and rational manner.

-Michael Walsh, founder of the Magnolia Ball Club, 1843

At Least I Died Doing What I Love

New Music

Dan Auerbach – Keep It Hid – Fair warning, there will be quite a bit of Dan Auerbach in these music posts the next couple of weeks.  I’m going to his concert when he comes to Chicago, so I’ll have to treat you all to a review.  Anyway, getting this album took some doing.  I ordered this online in order to take advantage of a birthday coupon before it expired.  Then the delivery took a whopping two weeks, which delayed me getting my hands on the album until well after the release date.  It was a tense couple of days waiting for it to come, but finally, last night, I got my hands on it.  Needless to say, I haven’t had too much of a chance to listen to the entire album yet, but “Trouble Weighs a Ton” is a pretty great openeing song (see the videos below).

Random Ten Songs

Aqueduct – Growin Up With GNR
Meat Puppets – Lost
Nirvana – Something in the Way
Radiohead – Pyramid Song
Dust Brothers – Homework
Foo Fighters – Headwires
Korn – Hollow Life
System Of A Down – Thetawaves
Everclear – Electra Made Me Blind
Rage Against the Machine – Settle For Nothing

Everclear?  That one surprised me.

Two Videos

Dan Auerbach – Trouble Weighs a Ton

[NOTE – Auerbach will be on Conan tonight (2/13)]

Black Keys – Your Touch

“Lip-syncing, man. I love that shit.”

Big Steps

Last week I created a folder on my computer entitled “Thesis”.

The last 4+ years have all been building up to this.  Now all that’s left is to generate a 200+ page document that not even my mother will read. (Mom, if you’re thinking about reading it, it’s really not worth the time or effort, and I won’t be offended).

Ideally, I will finish up my degree and defend my thesis this spring, then we’re moving to Kansas so that my wife can start her master’s program (apparently she noticed how much fun I was having these last few years).  I’m excited about the opportunity I’ve got out there doing a postsoc at Kansas University, plus I’ll get to go to Kauffman Stadium to watch the Twins instead of the Cell here in Chicago.

That actually brings up an interesting question, the Twins come to Wrigley Field for the first time since I moved here June 12-14.  As I see it I have two options:

1)  Finish my Ph.D. as quickly as possible, changing my life plan for 3 Twins games is pushing it a bit.

2)  Try to schedule my defense for June 11.  Celebrate my new degree by going to Twins games at Wrigley, pack for a week, then follow the Twins from Milwaukee (June 23-25) to St. Louis (June 26-28) to Kansas City (June 29-July 1).  Road Trip!

Only time will tell which of these is feasible, but its going to be an interesting summer.

Only Score As Much As You Need

The Wild have scored 10 goals in their last 5 games (on the plus side they’ve only allowed 10 as well while going 3-2).  How long can the Wild score 2 goals a game and continue to pick up more than one point per game?

Going back farther, they have scored 41 goals since January 1 (16 games, just over 2.5 G/Gm, 9-6-1 record).

Here’s the thing, I don’t want to be a wet blanket about this team, but I stand by my earlier thoughts.  If the Wild make the playoffs it will be as a 7 or 8 seed.  They won’t be able to put the puck in the net, and it’ll be another first-round exit.

That being said, it was pretty sweet to beat Edmonton yesterday afternoon, and it moved the Wild into second in the division.  Given the fact that Calgary is struggling right now, perhaps the Wild can get on a roll and close the gap and make the last month of the season interesting.

Current standings

Calgary -40 San Jose -21
Minnesota -47 Detroit -29
Vancouver -48 Chicago -36
Edmonton -50 Calgary -40
Colorado -55 Dallas -45
Minnesota -47
Vancouver -48
Los Angeles -49
Edmonton -50
Columbus -51
Nashville -53
Anaheim -53

You Can Have It All, My Empire of Dirt

New Music

Meat Puppets – II – The eighties odyssey continues.  This is unlike any other album in my collection, that’s for sure.  The lead singer wanders around in some songs, not quite on-key, sounding a little bit like a less excitable version of Brak.  I like it with all that, though.  Obviously I first heard of these guys when they appeared with Nirvana on the Unplugged album, and I had always kinda, sorta wondered what the originals of Plateau, Oh Me, and Lake of Fire sounded like.  Now I know, so cross another life goal off the list I guess.

Random Ten Songs

Rolling Stones – Moonlight Mile
Yo-Yo Ma & Diana Krall – You Couldn’t be Cuter
Atomship – Friends
Nine Inch Nails – Big Man With a Gun
Yo-Yo Ma – Sarabande, Suite #4 in E-flat Major (J.S. Bach)
Rage Against the Machine – Know Your Enemy
Live – White, Discussion
Counting Crows – Long December
Black Keys – Give Your Heart Away
Nine Inch Nails – Hurt

Wow, other than “Hurt”, the Black Keys, and Rage, I don’t think I would pick any of those songs on my own in a long time.  A very random 10 for sure.

Two Videos

Nirvana – Plateau (unplugged)

Heartless Bastards – Mountain

A Quick Note

At St. Buchardi church in Halberstadt, Germany, the performance of John Cage’s “As Slow As Possible” continues with a note change today.  This chord will last for 16 months (until next July).

Organizers in Halberstadt rejected questions about what it all means.
“It doesn’t mean anything,” one of them said. “It’s just there.”

Scheduled completion of the performance – the year 2639.

The Dreaded Western Canada Road Trip

This picture isn’t from this weekend, but I just love seeing Roberto Luongo crying.

luongo

I would categorize that weekend as a wildly successful Canadian road trip for a couple of reasons.

  1. The Wild actually got a win in their split with the Canucks and Oilers
  2. They avoided the nightmare that is playing in Calgary

Of course, they can’t really take credit for #2, but it’s still nice as they now return home for 7 of the next 8 games.

Currently, the Wild remain in the battle for the last few playoff spots, and thoughts of defending the division title are now dependent on the collapse of the Flames. Hopefully they can make a push during this homestand, and be in good shape heading into late February/early March.