October 31, 2006

New Music Tuesday: Songbird

I was so excited to hear this week's new release that I started it downloading before I got in the shower.  And today as I listened to the latest release from Willie Nelson, I thought of Bob Dylan.  The sound of the album is similar to that of Modern Times.  For all the criticism that Dylan received for his voice quality, Willie Nelson more than makes up for it with his supreme 73 year old voice.  It's almost like his voice has gotten better over the years.  That twang that he got famous with in the 70s has toned down to a sweet soulful voice.  There's still plenty country to this record, but it isn't over the top and it almost gains forgiveness for that horrible duet he did with Toby Keith.  The album is produced by Ryan Adams and you know I'm a fan of his sound.  You can pick up Songbird on iTunes.  Even if you have a prejudice against Willie because of his being a "country music" legend, you will still enjoy this album...and if your idea of good country music is Tim McGraw, you might get a lesson in beauty.

October 30, 2006

Zen and The Art of Blog Maintenance

MKinMotion.com has been pretty quiet lately.  I can't put my finger on it.  I'm constantly having thoughts that are post worthy, but can't seem to bring myself to actually publish.  Silence isn't because of busyness.  I've typed up a few things but held off in posting them because I did what I never used to do and read the post.  Since my last post, the Cardinals won the World Series!  I wrote a post that I can't find about becoming a fan of a team and how it develops. 

I grew up in a town that had neither a MLB team, so it's always been a question I've had to answer when I declare my Red Sox and Cardinal fandom.  People say, "well wouldn't being from Portland make you a Mariner fan?"  My opinion has always been that geography shouldn't have anything to do with fandom.

I'll be going to the Laker/Warrior game Wednesday night.  It's opening night for the Warriors.  I haven't been to a Laker game since Magic, Kareem and Worthy were playing.  I haven't been to an NBA game since JR Rider, Rasheed Wallace, Arvydas, Jermaine O'Neal and Kenny Anderson.  Brian Grant was also on the team.  Brian Grant had a couple of huge years for the Blazers and got a gigantic contract.  He was the 8th pick overall in 1994 by the Sacramento Kings.  He played in Portland for several years having some of his best years.  After Portland, he played in Miami, was traded to the Lakers with Lamar Odom in the Shaq trade.  He went on to the Suns.  Because the Blazers wrote him such a big check for his potential; and because the contract was weighted so that the later years of the contract were heavier than the first years, his final season in the NBA where he sat on the bench of the Suns and played off the bench in 21 games, he collected 14 million.  Brian Grant announced his retirement this week and although I always thought he was overpaid and improperly used, he was one of the all-time class guys in the NBA. 

I'm re-reading The Brothers K and it's even more clear this time through that it's one of the greatest books ever written.  I highly recommend it to anyone who likes baseball or fishing; has ever been a brother, sister, father or mother; and if you don't fit into any of those categories, I still guarantee you will love it.



I've been listening to a lot of music but haven't blogged about it.  I might just cook up a New Music Tuesday post tomorrow.  A few other ideas for projects in the works that may or may not come to fruition.  If you think I'm silent, there are several bloggers in my circle of friends who have been much less active...so at least you get table scraps.  I went through several weeks of material dealing with album cover art back in the spring and it got a lot of attention and interaction, I may try a similar sort of thing to stimulate my posting as well as your interaction.  Maybe lists too, they start conversations.  I used to do a top ten Thursday list, but abandoned it at some point.  Until then, thanks for continuing to stop by despite the silence.  

October 23, 2006

Ze Frank - Rocketbooming to the Top

It seems to me that Ze Frank may have started a war with Andrew Baron of Rocketboom today.  I personally unsubscribed and haven't touched Rocketboom since Amanda left, and that's about the time that I started to watch Ze Frank daily.  Maybe his chart makes more sense than Andrew's anecdotal stats.  Some of you have no idea what I'm talking about...for you, click here.  For the rest of you, click here.  Yeah, it's the same link.

Lost iPod Meme

This comes via Thomas Hawk's blog.  It seems David Berlind at ZDNet found a black 30 GB video iPod and is using the power of the six degrees of blogging to return it to it's rightful owner.  Here's David's post, and here's Thomas'.  It seems the owner lost this sometime around October 9th or 10th on a United Airlines flight originating in New England.  If this is your your lost iPod contact David at david(dot)berlind(at)cnet(dot)com. 

I Finally Did It

Due to the length, importance and intensity of Game 7 of the NLCS, I missed this week's episode of The Office (Sorry, Jenna).  I went to the always trusty iTunes Store (formerly known as the iTunes Music Store) on friday and there was the episode for $1.99.  That's an easy purchase.  But when I went to the page to purchase, I was informed that I needed iTunes 7 to purchase TV content.  As I mentioned when iTunes 7 came out, I was less than impressed with it and was holding out when it came to my desktop PC.  Well, needing my weekly Michael Scott/Dwight Schrute fix was enough to get me to finally install the new software.  Well, not only did it take who-knows-how-long-because-I-finally-went-to-sleep for the new version to figure out how much music I had and not only check the album artwork for every song I have, it also ran the highly anticipated update of gapless music.  The next morning when it was through with it's tasks, I tested the gapless feature with Red Hot Chili Peppers' Blood Sugar Sex Magik, and I have to say it works really well.  Then yesterday I plugged in my iPod without even thinking about the ramifications of the new software.  I think my iPod just about caught on fire because it got so hot and sounded so sad as iTunes 7 tried its best to kill it.  I'm still less than impressed with the interface of iTunes 7.  It's a resource hog, bouncing between 35 to 90ish percent of my processor, it makes it very frustrating to do anything else while listening to music.  It takes much longer to start and to close.  I imported a couple of CDs and it took forever and kept my processor pegged out at 99 percent for 10 minutes.  I have a gig of memory and a 2.4 gigahertz processor, there is no reason for an application as simple as iTunes should tap out my resources without doing anything other than music.  So, I anxiously await the next update, because I'm not going to let Jobs get me to buy a Mac over the iPod or iTunes...not when the Zune is so close.   

October 21, 2006

Memo to the World

                           Photo Courtesy of MLB.com 

The cliche phrase is "That's why they play the games."  I've been listening all week to the media, the blogs and people all around me saying that Detroit ought to prepare for riots because whoever came out of the National League didn't stand a chance.  As a longtime fan of the Cardinals I am a little biased, but I predicted in April that the Cardinals would win the World Series.  No one, and I mean no one could have predicted Detroit still playing in October.  I'm not backing down from my prediction that the Cardinals will win the World Series unless the Tigers win 4 games.  I think the press and America forgot about the weapons that St. Louis has.  Sure they struggled at the end of the season and sure they lost a few pitchers to injury, but the weapons they have are more than enough to win this series.  All the Cinderella cliches that have been used for Detroit can all be dissolved when the clock struck midnight Thursday night when the Cardinals reached the World Series.  The pitching staff of the Cardinals as well as their bats have just as much chance of putting together 4 wins as the Tigers do, so my money is on a team that learned a lot of lessons two years ago and won't repeat those mistakes.

October 18, 2006

Not Everyone is Ryan Adams or Bob Dylan

As promised, here is my list of artists and bands that are due for a new album.  I'm a big believer in musicians spitting out as much music as often as they can.  I think the music industry is going to continue to change the way music is distributed, which may eventually kill the album.  But in the meantime, here are a few groups that are over due.  Can you think of more?

Kings of Leon:  Their last album was released in 2004 and they've been talking about their next album since before I saw them open for U2 in 2005.

The Arcade Fire:  Their debut hit was the sleeper hit of 2005 and still one of the greatest albums in the last decade.

U2:  It's hard to believe that it's coming up on two years since HTDAAB was released.  They released the collaboration with Green Day for Music Rising a few weeks ago, and are due to release a greatest hits album that will not only include the Green Day single, but also another brand new track.  Rumors have them working on their next album with Rick Rubin in Abbey Road Studios.  My spidey senses tell me that ultimately, although Rubin might be on board to produce it, they'll either make it in their studios in Dublin or a unique room like The Unforgettable Fire and Achtung Baby called for.

Counting Crows:  Their last full length studio album was 2002's Hard Candy of which I've worn out multiple copies.  With all the creativity that has surrounded members and ex-members of the band, I'm sure we're not far from some new material. 

October 17, 2006

The Poet Laureate of Rock 'n Roll

That's the words that came over the PA system just before Robert Zimmerman took the stage in the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium on Monday, October 16. 

The evening began with the opening band Kings of Leon setting the stage with a rousing set of their new school southern rock.  Kings of Leon aren't afraid of a crowd.  I saw them open for U2 on opening night of the Vertigo tour.  Opening for U2 and Bob Dylan looks pretty good on a resume, especially for these brothers that are still very young.  KOL played a few new songs that I wasn't familiar with, but I enjoyed them a lot.  The crowd in San Diego awaiting U2 weren't into Kings of Leon, nor were they very kind to them.  Caleb Followill acknowledged the crowd and acknowledged that we (collectively) were not there to see Kings of Leon, but that they appreciated us being such a attentive and responsive crowd.

Soon after Kings of Leon left the stage, the lights fell and the band took the stage with Dylan following behind them.  The music was fantastic, the crowd was diverse, and Bob sounded great.  He played keys all night, which meant I stared at the back of his head.  Normally this wouldn't have mattered, but considering he didn't acknowledge the crowd the whole show, his face was a rare sight for most of the crowd.  He played mostly songs from his new album, which I expected, and dropped a few classics in the mix.  He played a great arrangement of "Like a Rolling Stone," "Highway 61 Revisited," and "All Along the Watchtower."  For a complete setlist, you can check it out here.

It was my first time seeing Bob Dylan and he will always be one of my favorites, but there are still some thoughts that haunt me.  Much of what surrounds the legend of Bob Dylan is his political activism of the 60's and 70's.  It's not like I expected him to play "Blowin' in the Wind" and make any political statements, but I didn't expect an absence of any statements whatsoever.  But for a 65 year old legend, I was more than impressed with the whole package.

No pictures from the show, but I have seen some on flickr...including at least one with the back of my head in it.

Quick Hit

I'll make this fast.  It feels like I've been a bit rushed lately. If you've been following along I went to see Bob Dylan play last night in San Francisco.  I will compose a complete review of his performance as well as Kings of Leon who opened.  I'm a little more tired than I was yesterday, which I thought was the bottom of the barrel, so coming home from work tonight and typing up a review sounds like a good relaxing night.  To quickly answer a few emails that were sent with the hopes of being used in a Q & A post; no, I haven't been watching The Amazing Race (it may have been a one time thing), I haven't watched Survivor either.  Last spring must have been a rare time for me and the TV.  My fantasy football team that I mentioned at some point is doing very poorly, but I have another team that's doing much better.  I'll save a great emailed question for a post tonight...a teaser:  "Who is due for some new music?  Who hasn't released an album in a long time?"  This one came a while back, but I think it will fit nicely with my review tonight of last night. 

October 16, 2006

Ol' Mother Nature

My parents are vacationing in Hawaii with friends. When you watch CNN or MSNBC and you see the epicenter of the quake, you just have to trace that over to the big island to find where they are. Everyone is alright.

October 14, 2006

Lost for Words

For those of you who continue to stop by MKinMotion despite the silence, I offer my apology.  I haven't had much to say lately.  I've got a few things in the works, so stay tuned.  I'll probably have another post up tonight.

October 9, 2006

Formula Comedy: Six Degrees of Sorkination

Aaron Sorkin wrote Malice that starred Alec Baldwin.
Alec Baldwin was in Cat in the Hat with Mike Myers.
Mike Myers was in Wayne's World with Rob Lowe.
Rob Lowe was in The West Wing which was written and created by Aaron Sorkin.
Aaron Sorkin wrote Sportsnight which starred Josh Charles.
Josh Charles was in Dead Poet's Society with Robin Williams.
Robin Williams was in RV with Kristin Chenoweth.
Kristin Chenoweth was in The West Wing which written and created by Aaron Sorkin.
Aaron Sorkin wrote The American President which starred Annette Benning.
Annette Benning was in Postcards from the Edge with Rob Reiner.
Rob Reiner was a "guest host" on Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip which Aaron Sorkin wrote and created.
Aaron Sorkin wrote A Few Good Men which starred Kevin Bacon.

It should come as no surprise to anyone who knows me that I would naturally be attracted to "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" without even seeing the first show. It teams Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing, Sportsnight, A Few Good Men, American President) with Bradley Whitford (The West Wing, Billy Madison, and not Aerosmith) and Matthew Perry (Friends, The West Wing), as well as Amanda Peet and Timothy Busfield. The connections between cast members are pretty endless. John January from American Copywriter admits the show captures the creative process. I agree, though I'm not in advertising, but I see where he's going. It's worth your time to Tivo or to watch live on Monday nights. You know it's going to be well written and conceived and the cast is a great mix of proven players (Peet, Whitford, Perry, Busfield) with the guy from those Capital One ads and Steven Weber.

Coming up tomorrow a New Music Tuesday. I've added some show dates in the right hand column.

**Today happens to be Bradley Whitford's birthday as imdb tells me, coincidentally.**

October 8, 2006

Get Garren's Top 10 Tips

Does anyone else find this ironic?

Direct TV's Dream Sunday

If you live in the Bay Area, NFL football is like pay-per-view boxing matches. With the Raiders and the Niners, you're sure to have their games broadcast. But what happens if they play each other? Well, generally AFC (The Raiders) games are shown on CBS and NFC (Niners) are shown on FOX. CBS is carrying the game this afternoon between Oakland and San Francisco, but the FOX affiliate in the Bay must be under the impression that no one in this market would watch anything else (There's a little game in Philly that has some intrigue). So, with a 10am (Pacific) game of the Redskins and Giants, Bay Area sports fans will be forced to watch the 49ers and Raiders show us all why they are two of the worst teams in the NFL. I know that a majority of Bay Area households will have their TVs tuned into CBS, but why not just show the feed of the Dallas game? Why throw in the towel? Maybe the A's game was tentative?

Yes I am aware the Ducks lost, thanks for the email reminders. I'm also aware that despite wanting to remove the loss to the Ducks from their record, the Sooners still lost against Texas officially removing them from their quest for a national championship with a little star next to it.

Update: The script below is at the bottom of the screen while an episode of StarGate SG1 plays.

"KTVU is prohibited from broadcasting the Dallas Cowboys vs. Philadelphia Eagles game due to the NFL rules which pertain to a local home team (49ers) playing at the same time."

October 7, 2006

Torre Fired?

Very sketchy reports coming out of New York that Joe Torre will be removed as the manager of the Yankees and replaced by former Yankee player and manager Lou Piniella.  Torre is the scapegoat for the gazillion dollar payroll under achieving.  If they could, you know they'd rather fire A-Rod and replace him at third base with former designated hitter Piniella.  No, not the 1969 Rookie of the Year Piniella, they'd take the 63-year old version.

October 6, 2006

Warning: No Spoilers Included

I won't disclose any information about what happened on this week's episode of Lost, but I do want to comment on it.  I enjoyed it a lot.  It's setting up the 6 episode mini season that the producers have been talking about all summer very well.  If you missed any of the summer coverage involving Carlton Cuse and Damon Lindeloff, they clearly said that they created a mini season of 6 episodes that will deal with the problem that we left off with last season (see how vague I can be?).  This mini season will end in November with a mini cliff hanger and then the show will come back in February for 16/17 straight episodes.  This will keep us from having to deal with repeats interwoven with the new episodes.

I saw some discussion about the opening episode, and it seems what people are focusing on more than ever is the amount of advertisements and the lack of resolution.  What does this discussion tell me?  Two things, at least.

1.  People are watching this show on DVD.  I heard several times during last season that people missed the beginning of the season or the beginning of the series and they would not watch it on Wednesdays, but wait for the DVD and catch up all at once.  My experience with Lost involved watching them on my computer(s) and the first episode I watched in sequence on TV was "The Other 48 Days."  I had gotten used to watching 44 minutes of movie-like action and was a little bit of an adjustment to have the screen go black and instead of picking up again, the screen suddenly tried to sell me a Cadillac. 

2.  People are forgetful and impatient with the story line.  There were lots of questions answered in the finale last season, but there were a lot more questions that came up.  Did these critics believe that the producers of the show would somehow change that ideal and start tying up loose ends without both prolonging the overall arcs and unraveling other mysteries? 

I full well expected to be blown away with the first few minutes and I was.  I fully expected some insight into what happened and I got it.  I fully expected for new questions and mysteries to unfold and I got them.  The time and place to discuss those questions and answers isn't here at MKinMotion.com because I have a large international readership and as you all full well know, you can't talk about an episode of Lost with someone who hasn't seen it yet...

October 3, 2006

Four Posts (now 5) in One Night

Tell me you're impressed...remember the good ol' days when I would regularly have several interesting things to say throughout a day?

Yeah, I haven't stood up in a while.

Flickr Pro

One year to the day after uploading my first photo to flickr (you can tell by the username that I was still MKinAK at the time) from a Radisson Hotel Room in Austin, Texas, my hand was forced to upgrade to a pro account.  Was it the year that triggered the necessity to upgrade?  Was it the amount of photos uploaded in said year?  Either way, I've upgraded.  One positive side of it is that I no longer have a monthly allowance of uploading, so I've dumped a bunch of Alaska photos from the last few years into the mix.  I'm going to work on getting them labeled and tagged a little better, but they should at least have some titles.  Enjoy, I know I did

7 Pet Peeves About Portable Media (Podcasts)

A preface:

When I say Portable Media, I mean podcasts.  I love podcasts, don't get me wrong.  I have several that I consider myself a loyal of, but lately there have been some things that have totally been bugging me.  I believe in the medium and I believe that there are millions of valid engaging voices out there to be heard.  That being said, here's seven.  I could write an in depth post about each of these pet peeves, and I just might at some point.

1.  Adam Curry.

2.  The obsession with episode numbers.

3.  The accepted nomenclature of the community (i.e. show notes, worksafe, etc.)

4.  People who leave voice messages or emails for the hosts that are merely self promotion of their own show ("Hi so-and-so, this is so-and-so from the such-and-such podcast-that-no-one-listens-to.")

5.  Podsafe music.

6.  "Old Media" passing itself off as hip and cool for having portions of a "real" radio show produced as a podcast.

7.  Apple hype.

A Little Help? - Blogger Dichotomy Issues

Word has it that KRex of ReckenRoll Lifestyle (A Blogger Beta user) is still having issues leaving comments on here (Traditional Blogger).  This is the error she gets: 


We apologize for the inconvenience, but we are unable to process your request at this time. Our engineers have been notified of this problem and will work to resolve it.

I hope their engineers have truly been notified, because it's getting annoying to have quirky little problems like this keep going.

New Music Tuesday: Life Ain't Only Supply and Demand

Some great releases today.  I made a number of AM purchases and they paid off for hours of iPod listening at work.  Things are still mind numbingly boring at work, but podcasts (er...web-based rss syndicated media) and a couple of today's releases made it much better.

Although Hot Fuss came out mid 2004, it has been a staple in my listening all along.  As a music snob, I'm not supposed to respect them, but I think Hot Fuss was/is brilliant and Sam's Town has a lot of the same feel, yet a little more mature.  It's accessible and has a little bit for everyone whether you're into lyrics or melodies or instrumentation.  I've had a few spins of each song and I've got to say it's great and well worth the price tag.

Buy The Killers - Sam's Town

Buy The Killers - Hot Fuss

Amos Lee successfully suffers from what psychologists term "Multiple Personality Syndrome."  Ok, not clinically, don't get bent out of shape.  On his self titled debut and his latest release Supply and Demand, he shows off what I'm talking about.  He puts together beautiful soulful ballads, classic rhythm & blues, and some straight up folk.  Usually I tend to be more critical of musicians who seem to not be able to figure out what type of music they want to play, but Amos Lee pulls it all off.

Buy Amos Lee - Amos Lee

Buy Amos Lee - Supply and Demand

Having grown up in Portland, I'm compelled to pay attention to bands and musicians that come out of PDX.  Whether it be Elliot Smith with Heatmiser or on his own, Everclear, M. Ward (who incidentally came out with a fantastic CD a while back), Sleater-Kinney, or even Nu Shooz or Quarterflash; I've continued to pay my dues and pay tribute to my roots.  The Decemberists pretty much came along after I had left Portland, but I still have my loyalties.  Their latest album, released today, The Crane Wife picks up where they left off with Picaresque.  I'm more than impressed with the way this unique sounding band can continue to stay fresh without sounding like an imitation of itself.  The Crane Wife is a great investment.

Buy The Decemberists - The Crane Wife

Buy The Decemberists - Picaresque

Buy The Decemberists - Her Majesty The Decemberists