“Hey Cortana” Fancy Seeing You Here

 image source: Microsoft
image source: Microsoft

Today Microsoft announced the roll out of the Xbox summer update. With it brings improved UI features, background music and much more. But the biggest addition of them all is Cortana. If you don’t use Microsoft products you may be unfamiliar with Microsoft’s digital voice assistant. With Cortana you can use casual conversational English to ask her to do things like check the weather or sports scores among many other things. Cortana has been available on Windows phone for the last two years and on Windows 10 the last year. With this update Microsoft brings Cortana to the Xbox. As a lucky member of the Xbox preview program I’ve had hands on time with this update for the past couple months. Cortana is everything you want her to be and much more useful than the antiquated voice commands the Xbox One previously utilized solely through Kinect. Everyone can now use voice commands on an Xbox One with either a headset or Kinect. Most likely the former as Microsoft has nary a mention of the Kinect in the past few years and stopped bundling it with the system years back as well. If you have an Xbox One go to settings and check for your update to experience it all for yourself. If you need a little help here’s a video from Microsoft showing off all the new features. Happy gaming. 

Mid Season Review: Philadelphia Phillies “At least we have a good mascot”

 Image source:  nbchardballtalk
Image source: nbchardballtalk

With the dishonor of being one of the worst teams in baseball at 45-53 the Phillies are deep into rebuilding mode. Finding themselves in the gutter yet again this season the Phillies have come a long way from their World Series championship teams in the late 2000’s. Ranking 28th of 30 teams in hitting and 14th of 30 in pitching, has led to misery for fans. The most surprising thing has been the flip flop of positioning. Citizens Bank Park has been a notorious hitter friendly park yet no Phillies player is hitting over .300. Unfortunately for Philly fans they’re use to this type of losing and have found ways to keep things entertaining. When the Philly Phanatic is the best part of most games it does not bode well for the team on the field. 

There have been many downs and not many ups for the Phillies but there have been some standouts. By far one of the best players for the Phils this year despite his recent struggles has been Odubel Herrera. Herrera hitting .285 with 10 home runs and 33 RBI’s and at only 24 years old is a player a team can build off of, though he’ll need to improve his fielding to achieve that goal. Another nucleus to build off would be Maikel Franco, though only hitting .257 he has 18 home runs and leads the team with 55 runs batted in. Though like Herrera, Fraco needs to work on his fielding and at only 23 has plenty of time to do so. On the pitching side Hector Neris (3-3 2.70) and Jeanmar Gomez (3-2 2.76) have been just a few of the standouts. At 27 and 28 years old respectively each player should be coming into their prime and could steady the top of the rotation for the next 3 to 5 years. 

If the Phillies can build off of some of their young players and if their draft prospects pay dividends soon, fans can have more than mascot races and the Phanatics shenanigans to look forward to. If not, you can always join the Phanatic in trying to “catch ’em all”. 

Comic Con 2016

 Source:  comic con.org
Source: comic con.org

It’s that time of year for the legendary San Diego International Comic Con. Dinosaur Spaceship will be there all day covering all you want to know. One of the premier events is the 20th anniversary celebration of South Park at Martin Luther King Jr Promenande Park. There are many exciting activities surrounding comic con and we’ll be covering as many of those as we can. So if you can’t make it out for yourself stay tuned we’ve got you covered.  In the meantime here’s an awesome behind the scences with Matt and Trey discussing South Park: The Fractured But Whole.

Mid Season Review: Mets “We need a doctor stat!”

 source:  sbnation
source: sbnation

The All Star break gives players a respite from a grueling season and the defending National League champions the New York Mets could definitely use the break. Ravaged by injuries the Mets will use the break to get some players healthy and make a late season push. They currently find themselves tied with the Miami Marlins for second place in the NL East at 47-41, trailing the Washington Nationals (54-36). Second place is not where fans and the team expected to be after a trip to the World Series last year. 

If the Mets hope to repeat as National League champions they’ll need players to come off the disabled list and contribute to a team that sees themselves only 6 games over .500. Two players the Mets cannot count on for this season are Matt Harvey (lost to thoracic surgery) and we’d be shocked if David Wright came back from neck surgery this year. Noah Syndergaard skipped the All Star game due to shoulder fatigue. Manager Terry Collins during the All Star game said he expected Syndergaard to rest up and be back in form after the break. Despite these injuries the Mets hung on, and are tied for the wild card spot with the Marlins. The National league east crown is not out of the question being six games back but with the way the Nationals have been playing it would be hard but not impossible to overcome.

 source: foxsports.com
source: foxsports.com

As with every season there are highs and lows. The lows have been stated, injuries have ravaged the NL champs but they have just enough talent to hang around. The standouts have been some of the usual suspects along with some nice surprises. Syndergaard (9-4 2.56) before his shoulder fatigue was outstanding and at only 23 should be the ace of the rotation for years to come. Yoenis Cespedes is having a great year hitting .302 with 21 home runs and 52 runs batted in. A pleasant surprise has been Steven Matz with his 7-5 record and 3.38 era, garnering consideration for rookie of the year. The other pleasant surprise for Mets fans has been the return of Kelly Johnson. Johnson returning to the Mets after struggling with the Atlanta Braves (31-58) is hitting .308 in 52 at bats with 3 home runs as a Met. If Syndergaard can return to form from shoulder fatigue and if the Mets can avoid any more devastating injuries they’ll be right in the thick of it come October poised to defend their title. 

One Thing to Eat In Each City: Pittsburgh “Primanti Bros”

 Copyright: Dinosaur Spaceship
Copyright: Dinosaur Spaceship

No food is more Pittsburgh than a Primanti bros sandwich. Pittsburgh has many great eateries varying from steaks, to fish but nothing is more Pittsburgh when it comes to food than Primanti. If you’re from Pittsburgh you don’t need any explaining but if you’re not this part is for you.

 source:  primantibros.com
source: primantibros.com

What started as a food cart in the early 1930’s, has expanded into 17 different locations. Primanti Bro’s founded by Joe Primanti specializes in sandwiches with your choice of meat, french fries on top, with cole slaw, cheese, tomato on an Italian bread. In the stores there are many options even a vegan black bean burger option. On this particular day we visited the original strip district location and I was in the mood for a “Pitts-burger”, while my cohort had a corned beef with no cheese. 

The atmosphere around the district was incredible as it was the last Sunday of the month and a there was a farmers market going on. Which I was informed by a local happens only during the summer on the aforementioned last Sunday of the month. We were tempted to make the strip district our number one choice of what to do while in Pittsburgh. However, as the farmers market happens during the summer and only once a month where as the Duquesne Incline is open year round, even when it snows. It won out in the end. 

Pittsburgh is an amazing city and we hope to be back there in the future to see what else it has to offer. What are your favorite foods to eat in Pittsburgh and or attractions? Let us know in the comments if you feel something else is more deserving or to share your favorite Primanti Bros sandwich. 

The Great Baseball Stadium Journey: “Pittsburgh Pirates, PNC Park”

 Copyright: Dinosaur Spaceship
Copyright: Dinosaur Spaceship

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania was a gracious first stop on our journey to see all 30 baseball stadiums in the next two years aka “The Great Baseball Stadium Journey”. PNC Park home of the Pirates with its majestic views and thriving nightlife surrounding the ball park area make it a premiere spot for entertainment. Though PNC park holds only about 38,000 fans this intimate setting lends to great baseball game atmosphere. You never feel far from the action, and no matter where you sit you have a great view. Though the best seats are facing the outfield gazing upon the Allegheny river as pictured below. If baseball isn’t your thing make sure to check out our other article series in “The Great Baseball Stadium Journey”. We have a link below to “One thing you must do in each city” with “One thing you must eat in each city” coming later tonight. 

 Copyright: Dinosaur Spaceship
Copyright: Dinosaur Spaceship

There are great options to choose from when deciding what to eat in the ballpark from Primanti bros to Manny’s BBQ. My personal favorite were the bucket of wings. But there are so many choices that you’ll find something for everyone. Be warned as with all ballparks the cost of food is pricey. Though the bucket of wings was not a bad deal. Around $23 dollars for 20 wings. At a little more than a dollar a wing it wasn’t bad considering most stadium concession pricing. 

Where Pittsburgh and PNC park truly shine are in its fans and game atmosphere. Even though the day Dinosaur Spaceship attended the game (June 25th 2016) the Pirates were 13 games back in the NL Central. Fans we spoke with were holding out hope for a wild card berth, though they stated would attend the games regardless to support their team. From the cannon blast on the outfield scoreboard after every strike out to the jolly roger PNC park exudes charm. A very nice guest assistant by the name of Alicia F. told me a little of history of the stadium and its attractions. How it was purposefully built to enjoy the mentioned Allegheny river and views of the city, the Pittsburgh Brewing company (Iron City Beer), Primanti Bros and some special members only section of the stadium that show off Pirates memorabilia. You won’t find long selfie sessions here. I learned Pittsburgh fans love their teams and this city enjoys that benefit which not all can say they do.  You also can’t forget about the Pierogi race. 

Lastly we would like to thank you, our readers, we know there are a lot of stadium journey sites and e-books out there, but with all we do at Dinosaur Spaceship we aim to put that classic unique touch on our journey. We will never charge for the information we give and are not sponsored by MLB, the cities or teams we visit or any source that would benefit from our endeavor. We started this journey because we love baseball and wanted to guide those who follow the same path, enjoy the trip. 

One thing to do in each city: Pittsburgh “Duquesne Incline”

 Copyright: Dinosaur Spaceship
Copyright: Dinosaur Spaceship

There are so many things to do and see in Pittsburgh it was hard to narrow it down to just one. With majestic views and steeped in history the Duquesne Incline took the top spot. There are fancy bars, and eateries but seeing Pittsburgh from this angle and riding up that old trolley car is an experience you can’t miss out on. The image below should speak for itself.

 Copyright: Dinosaur Spaceship
Copyright: Dinosaur Spaceship

The Heinz History Center and Pittsburgh Botanic Garden were honorable mention and worth your checking out if you have time. At $2.50 each way for adults, $1.25 for kids, free for Seniors over 65 it’s one of the cheapest attractions out there. After your journey in the trolley car as I’ll call it there’s the station which has been made into a museum. According to Duquesneincline.org the incline was originally created as a passenger and freight incline giving easy access to the then expanding Grand View Avenue. Now it is a tourist attraction preserved by The Society For The Preservation Of The Duquesne Heights Incline. The museum also has on display some general Pittsburgh history. Be sure to pick up some souvenirs with postcards costing only 50 cents. Also for only 50 cents you can take a self guided tour of the mechanical room powering the incline. For the sake of preserving the experience we’ll show glimpses of the experience as not to ruin it. It’s definitely something you must see in person.