December 31, 2006

Best Albums of 2006: Top 100

As promised, here's the top 100 albums of 2006. I must make amends because I left Mates of State out of the monthly lists simply by accident. Bring it Back is definitely one of the best albums of the year. While it's too time consuming to put 100 links to sample or purchase these albums, you can get them on Amazon or iTunes by using the links in the sidebar.

1. Damien Rice, 9
2. Pearl Jam, Pearl Jam
3. Bob Dylan, Modern Times
4. Strays Don't Sleep, Strays Don't Sleep
5. Cat Power, The Greatest
6. Josh Ritter, The Animal Years
7. Pete Yorn, Nightcrawler
8. Johnny Cash, Personal File/American V: A Hundred Highways
9. Bruce Springsteen, We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions
10. KT Tunstall, Eye of the Telescope
11. Mates of State, Bring it Back
12. Tom Waits, Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers and Bastards
13. The Decemberists, The Crane Wife
14. Band of Horses, Everything All The Time
15. Keane, Under the Iron Sea
16. Red Hot Chili Peppers, Stadium Arcadium
17. M. Ward, Post-War
18. The Hold Steady, Boys and Girls in America
19. Matthew Ryan, From a Late Night High Rise
20. Golden Smog, Another Fine Day
21. Ray Lamontagne, Till The Sun Turns Black
22. Joseph Arthur, Nuclear Daydream
23. Neko Case, Fox Confessor Brings the Flood
24. Shawn Mullins, 9th Ward Pickin' Parlor
25. Corinne Bailey Rae, Corinne Bailey Rae
26. The Killers, Sam's Town
27. Amos Lee, Supply and Demand
28. Jenny Lewis & the Watson Twins, Rabbit Fur Coat
29. Kate York, Sadlylove
30. Beth Orton, Comfort of Strangers
31. Gomez, How We Operate
32. Tom Petty, Highway Companion
33. Ben Kweller, Ben Kweller
34. Willie Nelson, Songbird
35. Drive-By Truckers, Blessing and a Curse
36. Centro-Matic, Fort Recovery
37. Regina Spektor, Begin to Hope
38. Willie Nile, Streets of New York
39. Silversun Pickups, Carnavas
40. The Stills, Without Feathers
41. Joanna Newsom, Ys
42. Ben Harper, Both Sides of the Gun
43. Richard Ashcroft, Keys to the World
44. Duncan Sheik, White Limousine
45. Elvis Costello & Allen Toussaint, The River in Reverse
46. Snow Patrol, Eyes Open
47. Guster, Ganging Up On The Sun
48. Glen Hansard, The Swell Season
49. The Black Keys, Magic Potion
50. Thom Yorke, The Eraser
51. The Long Winters, Putting the Days to Bed
52. Jay-Z, Kingdom Come
53. Paul Simon, Surprise
54. Glen Phillips, Mr. Lemons
55. Matthew Sweet & Susanna Hoffs, Under the Covers, Vol. 1
56. Old Crow Medicine Show, Big Iron World
57. Calexico, Garden Ruin
58. Loose Fur, Born Again in the USA
59. Dashboard Confessional, Dusk and Summer
60. The Elected, Sun, Sun, Sun
61. Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not
62. Cold War Kids, Robbers and Cowards
63. John Mayer, Continuum
64. Sonya Kitchell, Words Came Back to Me
65. The Strokes, First Impressions of Earth
66. Soul Asylum, The Silver Lining
67. Neil Young, Living With War
68. The Raconteurs, Broken Boy Soldiers
69. Smoosh, free to stay
70. Grant Lee Phillips, nineteeneighties
71. Wolfmother, Wolfmother
72. Twilight Singers, Powder Burns
73. The Alarm, Under Attack
74. Gnarls Barkley, St. Elsewhere
75. Alexi Murdoch, Time Without Consequence
76. Sonic Youth, Rather Ripped
77. Gin Blossoms, Major Lodge Victory
78. Tapes n Tapes, The Loon
79. James Figurine, Mistake Mistake Mistake Mistake
80. Elton John, The Captain & The Kid
81. Leigh Nash, Blue on Blue
82. Catie Curtis, Long Night Moon
83. Donvan Frankenreiter, Move By Yourself
84. Kasabian, Empire
85. Carrie Rodriguez, Seven Angels on a Bicycle
86. David Gilmour, On An Island
87. Nina Gordon, Bleeding Heart Graffiti
88. Mat Kearney, Nothing Left To Lose
89. Dixie Chicks, Taking the Long Way
90. Rhett Miller, The Believer
91. Midlake, The Trials of Van Occupanther
92. TV on the Radio, Return to Cookie Mountain
93. Madeline Peyroux, Half the Perfect World
94. Matt Costa, Songs We Sing
95. Beirut, Gulag Orkestar
96. Rock Kills Kid, Are You Nervous?
97. Morningwood, Morningwood
98. Phoenix, It's Never Been Like That
99. Jackie Greene, American Myth
100. Jeremy Enigk, World Waits

Primary Season

I've voiced a few political statements on this blog over the year, and a few more on my previous blog, but for the most part I've stayed away from the politics. I've honestly been more entrenched in such battles as Bush v. Gore (Reggie v. Frank) than I have in the congressional races of 2006. I do however have interest in the 2008 Presidential election. In the 2000 election, as Vice President, Al Gore was an early front runner. Though Bill Bradley gave him a good race for a while, there wasn't much competition for the Democrat nomination. George W. Bush withstood John McCain's "Straight Talk America" campaign. In 2004, Bush wasn't challenged and John Kerry stood the test of time to be the Democrats' nominee. So 2008 is interesting and intriguing because it's the first Presidential race that doesn't have any clear cut nominee in either party. Sure names like Clinton, McCain, Gore, Edwards and Obama have been tossed around but that only makes it more interesting regardless of what side of the aisle your ideology lines up with. I look forward to seeing how the message of the parties looks when they aren't running against an incumbent. 2007 will give us a good idea of what 2008 will look like politically.

Resolutions for 2007

I was going to use a lyric out of "Auld Lang Syne" for the title of this, but when I read the lyrics they didn't make any sense. Things come in tens this time of year, so I won't disappoint. Here are ten things I resolve to do in 2007.

  • Buy a new computer
  • Buy a new MP3 player
  • A post a day on this blog
  • Launch a (real) podcast
  • Read a book a month
  • Take more pictures (possibly buy a digital SLR)
  • Attend a major music festival
  • Get off of Blogger and go independent with
  • Lose 20 pounds
  • Do much more fishing

Other Goals:
Take the 6 week road trip I've been planning on for a year.

Year End, Part 2: How Do I Get His Job?

As 2006 is in its final hours, my thoughts turn to what 2007 holds for me. It's inevitable that MK will once again go in motion, but where, when, what, why are the questions still to be answered. I have a short list based on a few criteria, but I'm still open to any opportunities. It comes down to the right job and the right situation. I've always said I could figure out how to live on next to nothing if it was for the right situation. Not exactly what you want to advertise to potential employers. I was talking with a friend a few weeks ago and set the goal of figuring out a plan by New Year's Day; That hasn't happened, by the way.
I read a story on Digg this morning about Steve Jobs of Apple taking an annual salary of $1. You read that right, not a million, just one. It makes sense really, the market has put a price on him and his $460 million dollars in AAPL stock I'm sure is turning a slight bit of interest. Apple fans celebrate it as an altruistic gesture, but I'm gonna say it's just less work for his accountant. Do you think he does direct deposit for his 4 cent checks twice a month? I think I would.
I'm sure there will be more about the motion as the new year develops, but feel free to make your pitches for bringing MKinMotion to a city near you.

December 29, 2006

It's Going Around Like Some Sort Of Flu

Your results:
You are Superman

Iron Man
The Flash
Wonder Woman
Green Lantern
You are mild-mannered, good,
strong and you love to help others.

Click here to take the Superhero Personality Test

December 27, 2006

How I Got the News

I woke up like I do every morning and fire up the laptop for 5-10 minutes of internet surfing. Some people use the snooze button to fall back to sleep, I use it to read up on what happened in the 8 or so hours since I went to sleep. Since I switched this blog and my sports blog over to "The New Blogger" my traffic, particularly from Google searches, has been through the roof. It's been very interesting to see what people are looking for and deduce why they chose to visit your site with that criteria. Yesterday marked a first: For the first time ever, my sports blog had more traffic than this blog....and by a lot. When I look at the traffic 75% is Google searches...97% of those Google searches are for Erin Andrews. Must be bowl week. It seems every couple of months, she graces her beautiful face on the TV and I see the ripple effects as tons of people drop her name in Google looking for anything they can on her. This morning I noticed a strange trend on the traffic to this blog. Three people googled "living presidents" and one person googled "Gerald Ford elected." In this day and age, that's enough proof to publish a story. I went to to confirm the top story of the day was Gerald Ford's passing. He was 93. I mentioned him the other day as the only president since Time Magazine started awarding people of the year to not be awarded the title, but his role in American History was critical. I think it took having someone who wasn't elected president run the country in that time, we're a better country for it.

December 26, 2006

The Best Music in My Lifetime Came When I Was 14

I assure you I will have a year end conclusion to my Best Albums of 2006 series which will feature a couple of albums from December among the Top 100 albums of 2006.

The title of this post is something that isn't only true for me, but true for many people from many generations. I spent a week this summer on a houseboat with several members of the class of '62 and '63 and their favorite music still plays like the soundtrack to American Graffiti. I can't say I'm that different as songs that I discovered at 13, 14, 15 still get heavy rotation on iTunes.
When I was an early teen, U2 officially became my favorite band and in nearly 20 years, that hasn't changed. I always credit The Mad Fishicist with my U2 fanaticism. I had heard a few U2 songs over the years that had been played on the radio and my sister got The Joshua Tree (on cassette) for Christmas. I've spent countless amounts of money over the years on U2, so I feel no shame in admitting that I "dubbed" The Joshua Tree and when I had listened to the tape so much that it wore out, I made another copy. I think eventually I ended up absorbing the copy originally gifted to my sister. I hope she can find it in her heart to forgive me. It's been so long, the memory is pretty vague, but I remember The Mad Fishicist making a suggestion that I rent Lost Boys and Rattle and Hum together. I'm certain now looking back on it, that it was just the influence of The Chindo spewing out of him, but regardless of that I did what he said and rented the two movies. Neither of them were the type of movies that I grew up watching. A vampire movie and a concert documentary, I'm sure my folks were worried at the time. My life was permanently changed. The feeling that I got when I watched Rattle and Hum at 14 is a feeling that I have only felt to that degree a handful of times since. I felt inspired, I felt elated, I felt awakened. I wanted to play guitar like the Edge, I wanted to sing like Bono, I wanted to play bass like Adam Clayton, and I wanted to look like Larry Mullen. Maybe the most important lesson I learned is that Music and Politics can mix and that "Rock and Roll Stops the Traffic." Maybe the most remarkable thing about Rattle and Hum is those guys taking on the world with their music and they were just ~27. Some of that has changed in 18 years, but in a way much of the dreams that were awakened during the first viewing of Rattle and Hum still ring true today. I still get chills at a number of points in the movie. Still to this day, I've never seen Rattle and Hum the big screen....big screen TV's yes, but not in a theater.
After seeing Rattle and Hum and begging for the Rattle and Hum album (again on tape), I discovered that there was a lot of their music that came before R+H that I needed to have. Boy, October, War, and The Unforgettable Fire came soon after that. I couldn't get enough. It didn't hurt my enthusiasm to have The Mad Fishicist quiz me on lyrics in Oceanography class when we should have been dissecting oysters. I'm not exaggerating when I say that life changed with Rattle and Hum.
For Christmas I got U2 by U2. It took me back to those discovery years. I sat there yesterday mesmerized by familiar stories and new ones I hadn't heard. If you're not familiar the book consists of autobiography, biography by the other members, and pictures both from press clippings but also the band's personal photographs. It's a must have and makes a wonderful coffee table book. I've only read two chapters, so I'm reading about the very early times before they were a band. In all of their memoirish tales, they mention the music that they started to hear when they were 14-15 and how it shaped their life. My teen years in the middle class white bread suburbs of Portland, don't compare at all with the early 70's in Dublin, but like Lennon, Dylan and Bowie, U2 were my awakening that there was a big world out there and I wanted to be part of it. I haven't come close to changing the world, but when I do, you better believe my memoirs will include a chapter on U2 when I was 14.

December 24, 2006

Next Month on Fox

The ads have been running for weeks, reminding us that it's once again time for millions of Americans to tune in to the world's biggest Karaoke contest.

December 22, 2006

MKinMotion: Predict-a-Scoop Vol. 1

As soon as I saw the press release that Ken Griffey broke his "left hand in an accident at home" I instantly concluded it is due to a wiinjury. You heard it here first. If I'm wrong, I'm wrong.

December 21, 2006

Participate with Rebecca: 2007 Norman Vaughan Serum Run

My friend Rebecca is many things. She's a friend. She's a former co-worker. She's a Grateful Dead fan. She's a musher. A musher? Yes, she voluntarily lets herself get dragged around in the snow by dogs. To some of you this may seem like a completely foreign concept, but to many in the history of Alaska, it's commonplace. I won't go too much into Rebecca's story for a couple of reasons. The first reason being that she's written a brilliant bio on the Serum Run's website. A second reason is that I'm working on getting her to agree to let me interview her for a podcast.
To participate is a costly endeavor it's a 3 week race and there are lots of expenses. I'm including a clip from her email. I know she would appreciate it if you got involved by either helping to support this exciting opportunity financially with the button below or just by reading her story and keeping up as I know I will continue to post updates as February rolls around.
"A while back I applied for and was accepted to participate in the 2007 Serum
Run Expedition as a snow machining partner. It is a 3 week expedition that
crosses 800 miles of Alaska following the Iditarod trail. Dog sledding and
snow machining partners make the expedition stopping in villages along the
way to provide education on wellness, etc, and commemorate the dogs and
mushers who made the original trip to Nome to provide Diphtheria

As you can probably guess, supporting a 24 dog kennel and preparing for the
expedition is very costly. Several people suggested setting up a link or
website to take donations. Many mushers accept donations, and I am no
different. At the thought of asking people for donations, I have to swallow
my pride, and remember my dogs come first. So, now the shameless side of me
is coming through…

I have set up a PayPal account for those of you who are interested or
willing to make a donation."
To send a donation, log into PayPal and choose the tab to send money. It will then prompt you to enter the recipient's email address. Enter rsavidis[at]hotmail[dot]com (without the brackets, of course) and I'm sure she will be thrilled at your participation.

You can also visit the site to learn more about the expedition and learn a little Alaskan culture and history. If you have questions about the expedition or Rebecca's role, email them to me (matt[at]mkinmotion[dot]com) and I will include it either when I interview her or in further posts. Oh and by the way, the picture above is Rebecca running the dogs with very precious cargo...yeah, that's me hanging on for dear life. Maybe if you're lucky Rebecca can tell the story of when I went on that run.

You Won What?!? Time's Person of the Year?!?

Time Magazine awarded it's Person of the Year to you. If you're reading this, you're included in the award's scope. The you it's referring to is along the lines of user generated content on the internet. Blogs, podcasts, MySpace, Flickr, YouTube,'s all us the people creating content and spreading it. To me it seems a little hokey. As I looked at a list of former winners, it's good company to be in. Just think, by winning this year's award, you join last year's winners Bono and Bill and Melinda Gates; Ghandi (1930); Charles Lindburg (1927); Hitler (1938); Chiang Kai-Shek (1937); FDR (3 times); With the exception of Gerald Ford, every president back to FDR has been the person of the year (several twice); The Computer won in 1982; Planet Earth in 1988; and MLK. Every couple of years Time awards a group. In 1966, the generation under 25 won (born 1941-1960); In 1969, the Middle Americans; In 1975, American Women. In the spirit of my achievement and yours, I'm treating it a little like the Heisman Trophy whereas now I have a vote. So in light of that, I'm awarding the MKinMotion 2006 people of the year.

Kevin Rose, Founder,

Steve Irwin, TV Personality, Conservationist

Dwight K. Schrute, Assistant to the Regional Manager Dundler-Mifflin

Albert Pujols, First Base, St. Louis Cardinals

James Kim, Father, Husband, Hero

Türkmenbaşy: The Death of a Nation

What happens if your god dies? Although it borders Iran and Afghanistan, little has been said about Turkmenistan over the last few years. More has been said about Turkmenistan's leader. Saparmurat Niyazov has been the leader of Turkmenistan since the USSR dissolved up until his death today. It's definitely a case of a cult of personality, because not only was he the "President for Life" but also the head of his own religion. It will be interesting to see what happens in Turkmenistan over the next few days, because when you declare yourself god and make laws that require people to be apart of your religion and run a country of 4.8 million people, your death can shake things up a bit. "Turkmenbashi" as he was referred to, was just 61 and died suddenly of a heart attack, so I'm not sure a true "constitutional" plan of succession was in place. At one point Niyazov said that he would step down as President for Life in 2010, so whatever plan was in place for that day, may have just been boosted, but I predict some instability in deciding whether to follow their fallen mortal god's plan or whether to join the rest of the world.

December 20, 2006

Year End, Part 1: If I Were a Single Stock Guy

I don't mean to create a conversation about buying single stocks versus buying mutual funds, that's not my intention. I think I'm way more of a mutual fund guy, if you were wondering. But, if I were a single stock kind-of-guy here are a few things that I would buy stock in as the new year approaches (read: predictions of things that will be big in 2007).

Greg Oden

The Magic Bullet

Windows Vista

Pete Carroll

Google, of course

Aging movie stars reprising roles (exhibit A, exhibit B, exhibit C, exhibit D)

American automakers who adopt hybrid technology

A member of either of the major political parties that emerges as fresh and not more of the same.

Digital SLR Cameras

Hot Fuzz

Saturday Night Live


Red Sox 2006 AL Pennant T-Shirts

December 19, 2006

Best Albums of 2006: November

November was a month of greatest hits albums. With U2, Oasis, Depeche Mode, even Moby releasing complitions of hits in one form or another, some artists actually released full length albums with songs we'd never heard.

5. Jay-Z - Kingdom Come (yeah, I said it)
Jay-Z - Kingdom Come

4. Joanna Newsom - Ys.
Joanna Newsom - Ys

3. Willie Nelson - Songbird
Willie Nelson - Songbird

2. Tom Waits - Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards
Tom Waits - Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards

1. Damien Rice - 9
Damien Rice - 9

Best Albums of 2006: October

5. Cold War Kids - Robbers and Cowards
Cold War Kids - Robbers & Cowards

4. The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls in America
The Hold Steady - Boys and Girls In America

3. Amos Lee - Supply and Demand
Amos Lee - Supply and Demand

2. The Killers - Sam's Town
The Killers - Sam's Town

1. The Decemberists - The Crane Wife
The Decemberists - The Crane Wife

December 18, 2006

Update: Your Questions

Here are a few questions that have come in either via comments or email.

When are you going to post something other than albums?

Soon. The year of albums is just about done. Did you notice the tech post? I've got plenty to say as we approach the end of the year.

Are you going to post about leaving Alaska a year ago?

Yes, the anniversary came and went on Friday, but I have a very special article to commemorate.

Did you know you missed some very important albums?

Yes, I know one for sure that will end up in my top 10 of the year that I forgot to include in its month.

When's your next live show?

At this point it's not 'til Keane in Berkeley in January and Glen Phillips in February, but I'm always looking to fill in dates.

Do you own all these albums?

Define own... I have many of them whether through purchasing them, receiving demos or streaming songs at a time.

How do you have time for all this music?

I answered Molly in the comments a while back, but I'll explain again: It's simple math.
Easiest Job in the World + Most Boring Job in the World + iPod = Massive amounts of time to listen.

Two more months to go and then a top 100 recap for the year. Big thanks to Largehearted Boy for some extra attention.

Apple Phones, iPhones and Skype.

The iPhone was released today. There has been hype for years about Apple releasing an iPod phone, but today was not the day fanatics have been waiting for....they'll have to continue to wait. Having worked in the cell phone industry on the provider side for years, I know there is some demand, but maybe not as much as the Apple people think or even the tech pundits think. Most of my audience doesn't read the same things I read on the internets, so I'll give a little background. The recent recent and loudest news on the iPhone was out of two sources. Kevin Rose of Digg (with all new features) leaked (warning: adult language) some information on an episode of Diggnation saying that it would have two batteries (one for the phone and one for the mp3 player), it would come in two varieties 4GB and 8GB (so we're talking a Nano), and that it would be available with all carriers. I know some folks in Alaska that wet themselves if they heard that. Most people in the know believe that the Apple phone will be announced and released in January at MacWorldExpo in January. The second source was a recent post on Gizmodo that much of the tech community immediately denounced. Why did they denounce the short cryptic blurb? They assumed iPhone meant Apple and they assumed that Apple would stick to its standard protocol for launching products. Well, it turns out iPhone was trademarked in the US by Linksys years ago and released a product today called the iPhone. The thing is I have more of an interest in getting an iPhone from Linksys than I do any phone from Apple. Especially now that Skype launched version 3. If you haven't jumped on the Skype bandwagon yet, you should give it a try; It could just change your life. Back to the Apple phone issue for just a bit. I read today that Apple will be opening their own MVNO when they launch their phone. This is probably the smartest thing they could do. Sure, ESPN mobile flopped, but they had a pretty narrow market. The issue is that just about everyone already has a cell phone and thus they have a carrier. With Apple having their own MVNO from Cingular it gives them the power of the Cingular network combined with the power of the Apple brand. The issues that I saw with using carriers to distribute your phone were that Apple likes to set the price of their products. Authorized dealers of iPods and Macs aren't allowed to set their own price. If you want to buy an iPod from Best Buy or from Apple, it's the same price. Cell phone carriers and third party dealers like to run campaigns based on lowering the price of the phone in order to encourage longer term of service. Who knows what the billing/plan service side of things would look like for Apple whether they continue to target the young kids by making a prepaid product or whether they play with the big boys and try the whole family plan mess and other traditional plans. I guess we'll just have to wait until January to find out we've all been wrong...even Kevin Rose.

Best Albums of 2006: September

September means back to school and back to five albums.

5. John Mayer - Continuum
John Mayer - Continuum
4. The Black Keys - Magic Potion
The Black Keys - Magic Potion

3. Ben Kweller - Ben Kweller
Ben Kweller - Ben Kweller

2. Kate York - Sadlylove
Kate York - sadlylove

1. Joseph Arthur - Nuclear Daydream
Joseph Arthur - Nuclear Daydream

December 17, 2006

Best Albums of 2006: August

10. Kasabian - Empire
Kasabian - Empire

9. Leigh Nash - Blue on Blue
Leigh Nash - Blue On Blue

8. Carrie Rodriguez - Seven Angels on a Bicycle
Carrie Rodriguez - Seven Angels On a Bicycle

7. Gin Blossoms - Major Lodge Victory
Gin Blossoms - Major Lodge Victory

6. Old Crow Medicine Show - Big Iron World
Old Crow Medicine Show - Big Iron World

5. Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova (or The Swell Season) - The Swell Season
Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova with Marja Tuhkanen and Bertrand Galen - The Swell Season

4. Ray LaMontagne - Till The Sun Turns Black
Ray LaMontagne - Till the Sun Turns Black (Bonus Track)

3. M. Ward - Post-War
M. Ward - Post-War

2. Pete Yorn - Nightcrawler
Pete Yorn - Nightcrawler (Bonus Track)

1. Bob Dylan - Modern Times
Bob Dylan - Modern Times