I've mentioned things over the last several months about Robert Scoble, so I won't take the time to explain who he is. He launched his new video podcast ScobleShow and I've watched the first few shows with some mixed opinions. That being said, I encourage you to drop what you are doing and watch the first episode of his show. With the technology slant of Scoble's stuff, you might think I'm geeking about something boring, but the first episode is a tour of PrintingForLess in Livingston, MT. I think the way the company is run is inspiring and a model and example for anyone running a business. You'll love the scenery, too. Here's a link or subscribe in iTunes with this link.
September 27, 2006
September 26, 2006
I'm still alive, just haven't been posting. I haven't been busier than normal or any other excuse for not posting.
I planned on spending the evening with some internet celebrities, but I just couldn't bring myself to make the trip. Depending on how your browser loads, you might see me towards the top of the RSVP list.
Speaking of Kevin Rose, a quote about the Zune "Better than the video iPod." Not bad press for one of the more influential people in a valuable demographic...especially considering there are theories that the Justin Long character in the Mac commercials is based on The Dark Tipper.
KRex, how did I not get on that list of bloggers to test drive the Zune?
The Cardinals (MLB) have sucked so bad lately that they don't deserve to make the playoffs, just please don't let it be the Astros...
Try not to be too shocked, but my Sopranos experience has been limited over the years. Through different circumstances, I'd only seen seasons 3 and 5. Thanks to Netflix, I've now seen Season 1 in it's entirety. I've mixed in a few movies in the queue and then Season 2 will start to deliver.
Did you catch U2 on Monday Night Football last night? C at Scatter o' Light caught U2 in NYC today. Bono sounded great despite the huge space. I have a MNF/Katrina post brewing in me, it may just take some time to steep.
There's been a lot of great music that has passed through my iPod but I haven't had a chance to sit down and listen to much on my computer and write about it. Expect much more.
I get a lot of email at MKinMotion[at]gmail[dot]com (and lots of spam that gmail catches for me) with some great ideas and questions. I try to answer them, but I've been saving some of them for times of blog drought. So, if you've got something...send it my way.
September 22, 2006
Forbes released their 400 richest Americans recently. It's no surprise that BG tops the list with Warren Buffett trailing in second. Who do you think are the richest Americans and what do you think they've done to get that way? I was a bit surprised in reading how some of these folks made their money. And if you're looking for Donald Trump (celebrity rich guy), you'll have to keep scrolling. He's number 94, one slot below Steven Spielberg. If you're wondering who number 400 is, there are lots of people who have $1 billion and they all tie for 374th.
For years I've had bootlegged tracks and heard buzz about the Bridge School concert...this year, I'm taking advantage of the fact that it's just 45 minutes away and I'm going. You can read about it here, but just know that the lineup currently (from what I understand, lots of musicians just show up, and the web site says more acts to come) consists of:
Consider making a trip to the Bay Area in October to support the Bridge School and catch some great music.
September 19, 2006
Blogger announced they fixed the issue with Blogger users not being able to comment on Blogger beta blogs; also the reverse: Blogger Beta users can now comment on Blogger blogs. Anyone confused? Comment away. I think we're getting closer to the two platforms merging so that those who have Beta Blogs will have legit Blogs and the rest of us traditional Blogger bloggers will be able to tag and forget any html we ever knew.
September 18, 2006
I started this as a diatribe on comedic actors/comedians that cross over to drama roles in movies. Tom Hanks, Jim Carrey, Robin Williams, Adam Sandler, even Will Farrell has a borderline movie coming out. I recently watched Broken Flowers and it reminded me of how great of an actor Bill Murray is. With few exceptions, Murray puts life into characters uniquely. If you need proof that this stereotypical comedic actor has chops as an actor, refresh your memory with Scrooged or Groundhog Day. Bill Murray does something in most of his roles that a lot of actors can't do, he makes it impossible to think of anyone else playing his character. Do yourself a favor, if you haven't seen Rushmore, Royal Tenenbaums, or The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou go get them now or drop them into your Netflix queue.
If you haven't seen Lost in Translation, do the same. If you want to see a movie that is brilliantly made with a great story with subtle humor and great performances, get your hands on Broken Flowers. Bill Murray plays a retired guy who made his money in the computer industry. After receiving an anonymous letter in the mail explaining he has a son and the son is looking for him, he embarks on a quest to find the woman who sent him the letter. The plan is hatched by his neighbor who pretty well steals the show with a couple of great scenes, a blue collar immigrant who seems to be an amateur detective. There is plenty of ambiguity in all the connections he makes along his journey and we're left at a cross roads in Bill Murray's life literally and figuratively. As a fan of Jim Jarmusch's filmmaking, this might just be the most mainstream and accessible of his films. It's well shot and there are several great moments. I've said before that Steve Zissou finds his heart and soul, but we're left wondering if Don Johnston (and yes, plenty of Don Johnson jokes) really found anything in his journey. Don't make the mistake that the frat guys who were disappointed when Punch Drunk Love wasn't Happy Gilmore and expect Caddy Shack...the humor is subtle, but it's there.
September 14, 2006
I entered to win tickets to the Austin City Limits festival from just about every group with a contest. Obviously I didn't win or I would be in Austin right now, but KFOG did send me a consolation prize of the ACL festival CD and DVD from last year. If you've been following my blog, you'll know that I already had these, but it still says a lot about a radio station that they would send that out in the mail. Sorry folks, these extra copies have already been given away.
Someone at Apple either reads Wil Wheaton's blog, paid attention to Digg or was watching the web for chatter about their little problem, because he was contacted by Apple and given all his purchased music at no charge. That's pretty cool, but I'm still not ready to upgrade my v 6.5. Skin it, man.
I thought I would be looking to buy a new iPod, but after seeing lots of coverage of the Zune, I might look to go that direction. I'll wait on it, though. As I've been using my iPod more than ever without being able to plug it into iTunes, I really with there was more that you could do away from the computer. What would I design a Zune or iPod to do? I'd like to be able to create or edit playlists straight from my iPod. I'd like to download podcasts wirelessly. I think MS is on the right track with sharing songs (they have a three day or three play limit, which I think is brilliant) and the wide screen option of flipping the Zune sideways. I'm not sure of all the functionality of the built in WiFi, but it sounds promising. I'm not sure it makes me reconsider buying movies in portable format, but it's a bigger screen than I imagined.
September 13, 2006
As many of you know, Katie started a new blog with Blogger. She happened to use BloggerBeta (which may or may not have been by choice). If I try to comment on her blog, it uses my Google login rather than my established Blogger login and won't let me change it. If I try to comment using my Blogger login, it allows me to press submit but then gives me an error screen that my comment couldn't be processed. The layers of the mess of duel logins and platforms with Google and Blogger seem to be pretty deep.
When I arrived at the Fillmore last night, I barely recognized it as a concert venue. It doesn't have a marquee or even a sign, just a red awning. I arrived a little early because traffic was decent on the 580 and 80 and because my guess on where it is was dead on. The Fillmore is a historic sight for most music buffs. There is lots of memorabilia to prove it too. If you're even a casual fan of music in the mid sixties coming out of San Francisco, you're at least familiar with the idea of the Fillmore. In the mid-sixties it was a hotbed for The Grateful Dead, Jefferson Airplane, Janis, CSNY, etc. There are still lots of posters on the walls from that time. A lot has changed for the Fillmore. For one, it moved locations in 1968 from Fillmore and Geary to Market and Van Ness. In 1971, it closed. Twenty years after it closed, it's founder, the legendary promoter Bill Graham, was killed in a helicopter accident and his friends decided to open the Fillmore back up but in it's original location at Fillmore and Geary, where it stands today. Another thing that has changed is the acquisition of the Fillmore by LiveNation a division of ClearChannel. This fact is made obvious by the giant video screen running Verizon adds before the show started. Something that hasn't changed, apparently, is that there is still a greeter. Last night it was a nice cheerful guy, probably in his mid fifties who said to pretty much everyone who walked up the stairs, "Welcome to the Fillmore." I thought it was classy. Not to mention as I walked out, he said "Have a nice evening." To which I replied "Thanks, you too." His response: "I have had a nice evening, thanks."
On to the show. As you've probably gathered by now I went to see Golden Smog. If you're not familiar with Golden Smog, at least you're not alone, but you should take heed. The Smog are an Alt. Country Supergroup...ok, that's a definition I saw somewhere and so I've sarcastically adopted it. Supergroups were big in the 70's. Members from other bands combine together to form a Voltron of a band. In this case, Gary Louris and Marc Perlman from the Jayhawks; Dan Murphy of Soul Asylum; Jeff Tweedy of Wilco (though, Jeff was not with the band last night); Kraig Johnson, who's been in several bands; and Jody Stephens of Big Star. All musicians are very good at what they do. I'm certain there is a ton of ego and yet a ton of humility that takes place when these guys meet up every couple of years.
Last night, Tim O'Reagan (formerly the drummer of the Jayhawks beginning with the Sound of Lies album. He did some of his own stuff on his solo record and did a few Jayhawks songs and a few other covers. I enjoyed the style and the raw nature of the performance. By the time Golden Smog came out, I was standing front and center with my head between two monitors and a full view of the stage. The band was loose and in good spirits and played just about everything I wanted to hear from them except for "Glad & Sorry." Being that close gave a unique experience because not only was I hearing the stage mix and not the house mix, but I could hear everything they were saying to each other. How many times have you seen two guys in a band walk close to each other and shout something in the other's ear and they both smile and laugh...what if you found out they said something really mundane and normal, would it ruin rock and roll for you? During the "Starman" performance, I got caught singing along by Gary Louris, which for some reason led him to smile. I also did a Phil Hartman style "YES" at one point and it led to a quick bit by Dan Murphy and Kraig Johnson. I was in awe of all of the musicianship last night. Like I said, they're all really good at what they do. I was also in awe of the looseness to the music. This was their second show of the tour and they haven't played live for an audience together for probably at least 7 years, so it seemed very unrehearsed and alive. If you're lucky enough to have them come to your town, definitely show up...and if not, buy their music.
Golden Smog - Another Fine Day (2006)
Golden Smog - Weird Tales (1998)
Golden Smog - Down By the Old Mainstream (1995)
Golden Smog - On Golden Smog EP (1992)
Tim O'Reagan - Tim O'Reagan
There's been a lot of hype over the last few days about the iTunes Music Store launching it's movie service. I have pretty mixed feelings about buying a movie from Apple in this fashion. Let me clarify. Would I buy a movie from iTunes? Probably not. I don't have a video iPod (yet) so my only choice would be to watch on my computer. I already watch 99% of the DVD's I watch on my computer, so that's not the issue. I think the price point for the limitations is one of the main things that would keep me from buying them. The quality is less than a DVD and there aren't (in so far as I can tell) the extra features that I enjoy so much about the DVD format. I think if I had a video iPod and had a plane trip planned, I might buy a couple movies to get me through the travel time, but really I don't see an advantage over what I already do with Netflix.
On the topic of iTunes, I would recommend not downloading the latest version of iTunes just yet. I read Wil Wheaton's blog post this morning about when he loaded iTunes 7.0 on his Mac that it lost all of his purchased music. Before I read that, I updated iTunes on my laptop and it looks different, but the same. I didn't think much of it, but when I plugged my iPod in, all sorts of stuff started to happen that I didn't want to happen. Every song/podcast/audio clip that's in my Music Library on my laptop (which, granted isn't much because I try not to clog up the hard drive with music) onto my iPod. As it was doing it, I could see the box checked for not synching and manually updating my iPod. I'm a bit confused and it's a big hassle to clear off the useless stuff that came over when I plugged in my iPod. So like I said, don't update quite yet. I'm sure there will be a big enough stink, especially if it takes away people's purchased music, that a new update will be available shortly. As for my desktop computer and the home to 120 gigs of iTunes material, it is doing just fine with version 188.8.131.52.
Although I did notice that there is a little bit of upgrade in version 7 dealing with album art. I don't think it's up to the speed of Musicmatch and it's "supertagging." If Apple wanted my advice for an upgrade, that would be it. Let me put 1 mp3 file into my library, right-click and choose "update track tag" and it would go out and figure out who/what/when/where etc for anonymous track. I've always used the applications separately and Apple would score some points with me if I didn't have to use Musicmatch.
September 9, 2006
The pressure is on a little bit, thanks to The Mad Fishicist. He posted a link to my flickr site on a Hothouse Flowers message board and made a promise for me that I would have a review and a setlist.
Fiachna said that after some internet research they came to discover that Saint Monica was the patron saint of the homeless, hopeless, alcoholic and overall downtrodden. My own research finds that Saint Monica was the mother of Saint Augustine and the patron saint of mothers, wives and battery victims...herself being all three. Perhaps ironically, Santa Monica, California is nicknamed "Homeless Capital of the West." The video below is a snippet of Hothouse Flowers' "Santa Monica." There are other videos on YouTube here. And you can see photos I took at Flickr.
The show was great, but the order of the setlist is a bit of a blur, so I won't embarrass myself by putting the songs in order, but here are the songs that I remember and know. There were a few songs that aren't on any of the albums, and I don't know the titles...plus a couple were in Gaelic.
You Can Love Me Now
Isn't It Amazing?
I Can See Clearly Now
It'll Be Easier in the Morning
Your Love Goes On
Si Do Mhamo I
Having been a fan for many years, I was excited to hear the old songs from People mixed in with the new songs. They haven't put out an album since early 2004, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I was impressed with their presence and their professionalism. They proved in many ways that they're just a few lads from Ireland...but four lads that can play. If you are unfamiliar with Hothouse Flowers, unfortunately you're not alone. They're probably one of the most skilled and passionate bands out there...they successfully mix a flavor of rock 'n roll, American soul, and traditional Irish music. It's accessible music and the songs that they released in the 80's are still relevant and fit today. Do yourself a favor and get caught up with one of the great bands out of a country who's biggest export over the last 20 years has been music.
Rian (Liam O'Maonlai's solo album)
September 8, 2006
Looks like Blogger is cleaning out their inbox and fixing some of the quirky things that have been frustrating me, as well as other users, for quite some time now.
The made some changes and have fixed the photo uploading feature in IE. And I'm now able to edit posts using Firefox. Both things were buggy for the last few months. Good job, guys. Now, lets turn those Beta features on in the real world!
Speaking of Blogger, Katie's Place has made the move from my arch nemesis LiveSpaces to Blogger. Head over to her new digs and give her some encouragement. A wise man once said "Comments are blog currency. The love language of bloggers. Vitamins."
Do me a favor and ask her how she came up with such a creative name for her new blog. I'm dying to know where the inspiration came from.
September 7, 2006
I had the privilege of spending an evening and the morning with my old friend JNard and his beautiful wife. We had a chance to tell some old stories again, tell some new stories, and see Hothouse Flowers play at Slim's in San Francisco. The picture above is a Care Bear (a quick google search reveals that this was once, ironically, Cheer Bear) that became a toy of Moses an Olde English Bulldog. I thought it was picture worthy. More soon on the Hothouse Flowers show. Check out the pictures on Flickr to the right.
September 6, 2006
I've been progressing through my NetFlix queue with a very ecclectic variety. Netflix takes away any reservations of whether to see a movie or not for me. If someone mentions a movie, or someone on the radio/podcast/tv mentions a movie that I haven't seen or haven't seen for a while, I throw it in the queue. I've gotten fairly lucky and I thought I'd make some recommendations for you.
I mentioned "Everything is Illuminated" and if you haven't heeded my advice and gone out to rent/buy/borrow this movie, you're missing out.
I can't remember where I left off and I'm too lazy to sort through posts to find it, so I'll just give a run down.
Munich was good and it really put the tension with Lebanon in a different light.
Junebug, I enjoyed it...not as much as I thought I would, but I'd recommend it.
Don't Come Knocking was pretty fantastic. Wim Wenders and Sam Sheppard team up for another beautiful movie. They also teamed up to make Paris, Texas which also was a Netflix rental.
I thought I would have a hard time enjoying The New World because of Colin Farrell, but the guy can act and that's been forgotten with some of the choices he's made in roles.
I watched LolliLove and liked it a lot. I laughed out loud a few times because some of the humor takes you by surprise.
There were a few things I didn't realize about The Family Stone before I watched it. The first was that it was a Christmas movie...Christmas in August, not too big of a deal. The second was that it had some pretty intense dramatic scenes in it. I thought from the trailer that it would be a light hearted "Meet the Parents" type movie, but it had a heart and a soul. If I were Wes Anderson, I'd get Owen and Luke Wilson together and make a movie where they play brothers (imagine that!!) and Craig T. Nelson plays their dad. The chemistry between Coach and Luke in The Family Stone was a rare thing.
The Squid and the Whale was well done. Noah Baumbach wrote and directed the movie but I was expecting a slow drama. There was a lot of heavy stuff, but there was a subtle humor to the characters that seemed like something out of Zissou.
I saw Aeon Flux and expected to hate it. I actually enjoyed it a lot. I think the concepts were a little thicker than a 2 hour movie could handle, but the story was there and come on, Charlize Theron.
September 5, 2006
No offense to Dan and Pat of the Black Keys, but Mates of State are the best two-piece band in the world today. With just keyboards and drums and their uniquely harmonious voices, they keep amazing me everytime I listen.
They have a new video on MTVU, which honestly, I didn't know existed...guess I'm not a kid anymore. But check out the videos, they're great and you'll thank me.
Fraud in the 80's (You will surely find this pleasing to your ears...)
Like U Crazy (I had to download an extension to watch this in firefox, not sure about IE)
Snippet of Gnarls Barkley's Crazy as inserted into "Like U Crazy" at the Greek Theater in Berkley. I see myself in the video, but you'd never see me in the crowd.
I wish all the best to Mates of State because I know they feel everything they put out and they aren't compromising themselves one bit. Notice in the snippet how a two piece might not seem ideal for a venue like that, you wouldn't know it by the way they put themselves out there. Not to mention their addition to Death Cab's "Transatlaticism."
All the thought that music videos don't drive record sales anymore have been stifled with the OK Go madness. If you don't know what I'm talking about, get yourself over to YouTube and get your learn on.
Buy Mates of State
Buy OK Go
Buy The Black Keys
Buy more music than you steal.
Today was going to be the last day of my temporary assignment. I had a plan to put together a post celebrating my completion of the most boring job I've ever had, but it will have to wait. I was also going to basically post my resume and open up my employ to the highest or most interesting bidder, but that will have to wait too. I'm not picky I just want to be challenged and this gig doesn't do it for me.
If you're anything of a football fan, you might catch the reference in the title. It refers to the lackluster excitement that surrounds the NFL Pro-Bowl. The NBA and MLB have their all-star games in the middle of the season and generally get decent ratings. The NFL has it's all star game after the Super Bowl and none of the guys really want to be there or play hard. I don't blame either the NFL or the indifferent players. Nonetheless, after last week's huge release date, anything released this week will seem a bit like a letdown. Though, there are still some titles I'm interested in.
The Polyphonic Spree - Wait (EP) (iTunes exclusive)
Josh Ritter - Girl in the War (an EP of sorts) (iTunes exclusive)
Of course, the second season of Lost is released on DVD this week...can't wait for Season 3 to start in October. I haven't paid much attention to "The Lost Experience" this summer. I'm hoping that the producers hold true to the idea that the only things that are canon to the show are the show itself and not their clever marketing campaigns with Jeep and Sprite. I also hope it doesn't go the route of the X-Files and focus all of the energy on the Hanso/Dharma conspiracies...yes I do want to know about them, but I'm more interested in about the characters on the island and the seemingly supernatural stuff the island has been involved with.
Be sure to read the comments on the Five Star Music post for an explanation from Reid Davis, Managing Editor of Paste, of how they view the star rating system. It's a wonderful magazine and the editors definately have a better eye for what's cool than Rolling Stone does now.
September 4, 2006
September 2, 2006
I've been a reader of Paste Magazine for several years, and a subscriber for a few months. It's a great magazine and I have a lot of respect for it. I do, however have a couple of criticisms and as a subscriber, I feel it's my right to voice those criticisms.
My first criticism deals with the advertisements. I'm not against the ads, I know that it's how they make their money...other than the $7.95 newstand price. I think there are several ads per issue that catch my eye not because they're good or because they're annoying, but because they are terrible. I personally know several non-professionals who could produce a better ad for a CD than some of these ads. The ads definately don't make me want to even think about listening to the artist's music. I fault the magazine for settling for crappy ads. They could probably do a great job in house producing the ads rather than getting them from the musician who probably made it in a Kinkos using Word.
The second criticism is in their criticism. I'm assuming that their highest review of a CD would be 5 stars. I assume this because I've seen a handful of albums reviewed as 4.5 stars. I just spent a few minutes going through 5 issues and couldn't find a single 5 star review. So because there is no indication of a top review, I'm left to ask is 4 stars the highest and a 4.5 is their way of saying it's more than amazing, or have no 5 star albums been released in 2006?
Like I said before I think Paste is a great magazine, so to even out my criticism, I offer great things about Paste.
1. A great CD sampler with every issue with 20 or so songs from all sorts of musicians.
2. Did I say they're monthly now?
3. The have tons of free songs on their website for subscribers, and lots in their store section for non-subscribers. You might be asking what the difference between tons and lots is...
4. They include a DVD every couple of issues with some great short films and music videos.
5. The Paste Culture Club podcast is one of my favorites.
I have a list of questions that I've received via email that I've compiled into a Word doc. I'm going to go through them one by one, because I think most of them are great topics. Send your questions to MKinMotion[at]gmail[dot]com.
Q: Where does MKinMotion weigh in on Net Neutrality?
That's right, I'll kick it off with a little political question. There's a saying that the only problem with politics is the politicians, which very well might be true, but sometimes it's just the actual politics that get in the way. I think net neutrality is one of those issues. Congress will always have a problem when it is suggested that the status quo be legislated. We have net neutrality currently (unless you want my Comcast or Google conspiracy theories, but no one asked for that). For anywhere from $0 to a million dollars, a consumer or business can gain access to the internet. When someone types www.mkinmotion.com into their web browser, it takes them there, when they type www.whitehouse.gov or www.cnn.com, etc. it takes them there. Whether you are a goverment entity, a zillion dollar media corporation or a humble blogger, everyone has the same access to your stuff.
There are theories, however, that suggest that internet providers will start to favor web sites and services that pay them a payola of sorts to make their sites more reliable or perhaps make their competitors less reliable. There are also suggestions out there that a consumer would have to pay more to have the access they have today and they could pay what they're paying now for a tainted internet. We're using the internet more and more for more and more things, and I don't see that stopping. I think this has a certain industry up in arms. Because keep in mind when I say competitors, I'm not talking the competition between say MSNBC.com and CNN.com. I'm talking AT&T vs. Skype, or Comcast vs. the guy in your neighborhood with open WiFi, or Sprint vs. Vonage. Most huge companies got huge by doing something smart or investing a lot of capital and having that investment pay off. Now that these giant telecom companies built an infrastructure that has made them gazillions of dollars over the last several decades, they're getting really nervous about all the services that are popping up that work around the traditional methods. The people who are the most passionate about net neutrality believe that internet providers will prevent the use of such things as VoIP, bit torrent, etc.
Where politicians come into this is where it gets messy. As with any issue these days, the two political parties try to establish a party line. You might think that the Republican party would be for network neutrality: Traditionally they're for the status quo and against the bureaucracy that government oversight of the internet would cause. However, my years in the telecom industry taught me a lot of things and one of them is that the Telecom lobby is very strong. They're in the pockets of a lot of the "influencial" (read: "senior" or read: "Ted Stevens") Republicans, and because no one in either party has the guts to express their own opinion...especially in an election year. The Democrats aren't any better at this game because they have their anti-posterboy in Stevens (also here and here) they don't really do anything but say they don't agree with Ted. They talk a good game, but ultimately end up doing nothing. That was their strategy in the 2004 election and we all know how well that worked for them.
Public From Both Political Parties: "Um, Senator Kerry, you say you have a plan for getting our troops out of Iraq and winning the war on terror, we'd love to hear your plan, in fact we all might vote for you if you could do both of those things with your plan."
John Kerry: "Yes, I have a plan. I was in Vietnam while Mr. Bush was serving in the National Guard."
Public: "But what is the plan?"
Kerry: "I have a plan."
Public: "Nevermind, status quo must not be that bad."
So yes, MKinMotion is for neutrality of the internet, and I think we need to take some time to legislate it in order to keep it free...not free of cost but freedom free.