July 31, 2007

What Were the 90's All About?: Bono

How can you define the 90's when there is such a variety? The 90's through the many faces phases of Bono.

1990 (Early Achtung sessions in Berlin)

1991 (Achtung Baby sessions)

1992 (ZooTV)

1993 (ZooTV/Zoomerang)

1994 (Remember the Sinatra duets/Grammy presentation?)

1995 (Warchild)

1996 (Yeah, he's wearing a Batman necklace)

1997 (PopMart)

1998 (Is that Bono or Elvis Costello?)


What Were the 90's All About?: 1995

The 90's are littered with great soundtracks and 1995 is no exception with Empire Records, Clueless, and technically Original Soundtracks 1 from Passengers being released. In the soundtrack of my life I think there could be songs from all of these albums including the honorable mentions.

1. The Ghost of Tom Joad, Bruce Springsteen
2. Jagged Little Pill, Alanis Morissette
3. Sparkle and Fade, Everclear
4. The Bends, Radiohead
5. Forever Blue, Chris Isaak

Honorable Mention: Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, Smashing Pumpkins; Garbage, Garbage; Tragic Kingdom, No Doubt; Jars of Clay, Jars of Clay; Presidents of the United States of America, Presidents of the United States of America; (What's the Story) Morning Glory?, Oasis

The Other Side of the Velvet Rope

The New York Times described Pownce as a social network with a velvet rope. It can't be that exclusive as I got a system generated invite (I did exchange an email with Leah Culver long ago about her laptop quest, so maybe gmail helped me out), though I still prefer Twitter. It is invite only, but if you're interested in seeing what they hype is all about, send me an email and I'll send you one of my invites. I haven't found a use for it, although I do like the idea of being able to comment or respond to specific posts...but that's not enough to get me off of Twitter.


I had some computer issues, which are all taken care of, so no 90's post yesterday, but I'm sure I'll catch up to 1995 today.

July 29, 2007

What Were the 90's All About?: 1994

In 1994 we got punched in the face with Kurt Cobain taking his life, but music continued, despite the Don McLean lyrics. Johnny Cash re-emerged from the ashes and won over a whole new audience, Weezer defined power pop rock and haven't apologized, and Jeff Buckley released what would ultimately be his only studio album that still brings chills.

1. Weezer
(Blue Album), Weezer
2. Wildflowers, Tom Petty
3. American Recordings, Johnny Cash
4. Vitalogy, Pearl Jam
5. Grace, Jeff Buckley

Honorable Mention: Throwing Copper, Live; Definitely Maybe, Oasis; Dookie, Green Day; Mighty Joe Moon, Grant Lee Buffalo; Mellow Gold, Beck; Under the Table and Dreaming, Dave Matthews Band

July 28, 2007

What Were the 90's All About?: 1993

1993 marks the year I graduated. Yes, the same year Zach Morris graduated from Bayside High and Brandon Walsh graduated from West Beverly. So the year 1993 fills in the tale end of high school and the beginning of college. Very influential times. If you asked to list my top 5 influential albums of my life, August... would be on the list, so it's fitting it shows up in this series.

1. August and Everything After, Counting Crows
2. Gentlemen, Afghan Whigs
3. Songs From the Rain, Hothouse Flowers
4. Vs., Pearl Jam
5. Siamese Dream, Smashing Pumpkins

Honorable Mention: Pablo Honey, Radiohead; Ten Summoner's Tales, Sting; Laid, James; Everybody Else Is Doing It, So Why Can't We?, The Cranberries; For The Beauty of Wynona, Daniel Lanois; I'm Alive, Jackson Browne

What music was influential to you when you graduated from high school?

July 26, 2007

What Were the 90's All About?: 1992

1992 saw the Clinton win from out of nowhere, saw grunge make a big move with Alice in Chains, Stone Temple Pilots, Pearl Jam and Nirvana all become mainstays, and Eric Clapton might have temporarily lost his balls cool. Great albums that continued the trend of redefinition and genre introduction came through in 1992.

1. Automatic for the People, R.E.M.
2. Wish, The Cure
3. Check Your Head, Beastie Boys
4. Rage Against The Machine, Rage Against The Machine
5. Grave Dancer's Union, Soul Asylum

Honorable mention: Hollywood Town Hall, The Jayhawks (I really didn't discover it until 93-94); Apollo 18, They Might Be Giants; Our Time in Eden, 10,000 Maniacs; Amused to Death, Roger Waters; The Southern Harmony and Musical Companion, The Black Crowes

Funny this series has generated more traffic and emails than anything I've written in the last couple of months...maybe you all just like the 90's that much. I know I did.

July 25, 2007

Framing Emmy Nominees

In honor of her recent Emmy nomination, I bought a snazzy frame for my autographed Dunder Mifflin letterhead. I may go a little more into depth about the Emmy's, but I will say Jenna Fischer and Michael Emerson are on my must win list. I'm pretty sure The Sopranos will win for every award their nominated for and they probably deserve them all.

What Were the 90's All About?: 1991

I still contend the music revolution started in 1989, but 1991 was probably the most significant movement towards where we are today. The five albums I list we epic, defining and told us that things were changing whether we were listening to pop radio or the newly debuted Alternative radio. I can still remember the first time I heard "The Fly," "Smells Like Teen Spirit," "Give it Away," "You Could Be Mine," and "Losing My Religion." I knew it was all changing. U2 redefined themselves, the Chili Peppers evolved their music, R.E.M. revealed beauty in the fringe, Nirvana kicked all of our asses and Guns 'n Roses broke all the rules. 1991 set the tone for grunge, alternative rock, the death of hair metal and did it all in our backyards. I have a feeling we might see some of these artists again as I progress through the 1990's.

1. Achtung Baby - U2
2. Blood Sugar Sex Magik - Red Hot Chili Peppers
3. Out of Time - R.E.M.
4. Nevermind - Nirvana
5. Use Your Illusion I & II - Guns 'n Roses

Honorable mention: Ten, Pearl Jam; Metallica (The Black Album), Metallica; Soul Cages, Sting; Fear, Toad the Wet Sprocket.

What do you think? Did I forget something you think changed the landscape?

July 24, 2007

What Were the 90's All About?: 1990

The 60's have been celebrated, the 70's have been celebrated, even the 80's are glorified...it will be interesting to see how history remembers the 1990's. There are certain images that come to mind when those decades are discussed with a musical context; the 90's are perhaps too recent to put into context, but there are some definitive albums from my experience of the 90's. I wanted to take a minute and remind you of some great albums from the 90's that definitely shaped my musical path.

In 1990, there were some really significant releases (Uncle Tupelo's No Depression, for one) but the albums that effected me the most were:

1. Shake Your Money Maker - The Black Crowes
2. Listen Without Prejudice - George Michael
3. Goodbye Jumbo - World Party
4. Flood - They Might Be Giants
5. Violator - Depeche Mode

Honorable mention for 1990: Time's Up, Living Colour; I Do Not Want What I Haven't Got, Sinead O'Connor; Ritual de lo Habitual, Jane's Addiction; Charmed Life, Billy Idol

Over the next few days, I will go through each year of the 90's highlighting great albums then and great albums that stand the test of time. What were your favorite albums from the 90's? Send your answers to matt[at]mkinmotion[dot]com.

Little Things...

Matthew Ryan contends that "The little things mean everything..." and Bush (the band not the President) said "It's the little things that kill." When it comes to iTunes 7.3, it's the little things that have me annoyed. First off, everything works, so it's not a matter of losing functionality. One of the little things that changed was the way it handles the alphabetization of bands that have a number to begin their name (i.e. 10,000 Maniacs, .38 Special) which isn't a big deal, just took some getting used to seeing A-ha at the top of my music.
I use eMusic. When I download music from eMusic, I have to add it to my iTunes library by clicking File>Add Folder to Library. In the past it would remember what folder I'd previously added and take me straight there. Now it "forgets" and starts me in the 'My Music' folder which I don't use for storing music, it's rather tedious to drill around to my external hard drive to the eMusic folder.
I've been listening to my iPod while it's plugged into my computer at work since moving into a new office. Everytime I plug in my iPod I'm taken to what I can only assume is a default for the iPod in respect to the columns it displays. The default includes Play Count, My Rating, and Last Played which are all features I don't use. Not included are track number, year. Each time I "customize" it the way I want it to be, but the next time I start it's all back to the default.
My understanding was that the upgrade was due to the iPhone, but I not only find the changes impacting me to be unrelated to anything specific about the iPhone, but as Matthew Ryan and Bush say, it's the little things.

July 23, 2007

Tivo Recommendation

Got a Tivo? Set it to record Classic Albums on VH1 Classic. Seriously, do it. Episodes I've seen so far: Nirvana's Nevermind, Phil Collins' Face Value, Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon, The Sex Pistols' Never Mind the Bullocks...great stuff. It's almost difficult to remember how revolutionary that Nirvana album was. I remember the first time I heard it I nearly fell over. I still get chills and excitement listening to it today. Dark Side of the Moon has a lot of power behind it, sometimes regarded as the first concept album, but that's if you discount Miles Davis albums or disregard the concepts of the Beatles' albums. Regardless if you agree or disagree with the merits of the concept album it broke ground. I think the Sex Pistols album paved the way for so much music to come out. Most of the members of the band admit that it wasn't difficult to make, but no one had done anything like it. Well regarded today as a classic and brilliant album, it shook the record industry as much as could be done in 1977 and ultimately fizzled in record sales at the time. The Phil Collins' album is a bit out of place among the other three albums, but to hear the stories of how a solo album came from the lead singer of one of the more successful bands at the time is fascinating. It makes me realize I didn't know that much about Phil Collins...the guy is a genius, regardless of some of the cheese he's made.

July 17, 2007

New Music Tuesday: Catching Up On Tuesdays

It's been a few weeks since my last New Music Tuesday. I wanted to spotlight 4 albums that have been released over the last few weeks. All end up being great summer music, so it's fitting they're in rotation now.

Josh Rouse - Country Mouse, City House (iTunes) (Amazon)
This one came out today. It reminds me of his live show I saw last May. It's very solid and fun. You can even catch him smiling through the songs from time to time. If you're gonna do the one song to help you decide thing, I recommend "Hollywood Bass Player" or "Nice to Fit In."

Ryan Adams - Easy Tiger (iTunes) (Amazon)
You may not trust my Ryan Adams review because I think the more of this guy we get to hear, the better his catalog starts to be. Easy Tiger is another classic. There are moments when I swear I'm back in 2001 listening to Heartbreaker or Gold and there are moments when the presence of the Cardinals is nice and obvious...you might even hear a little something reminiscent of Whiskeytown. A very solid record, and after all it had been since December of 2005 since his last release. Just do yourself a favor and pick up the album...but if you're not sure, try "Off Broadway", "Two" or "Halloweenhead."

Spoon - Ga Ga Ga Ga (iTunes) (Amazon)
I'm hooked on this album. There are some great hooks on this album and as I mentioned for all of these albums, it's classic summer music. Fun poppy with an edge, just waiting for you to pop it in your iPod and cruise around town. "You Got Yr. Cherry Bomb" is definitely on my Summer of 2007 mixtape.

St. Vincent - Marry Me (iTunes) (Amazon)
St. Vincent is Annie Clark's project. You may remember her from such indie classics as Sufjan Stevens and Polyphonic Spree. She's got a lot of talent with a unique sound and songwriting vibe. My first impression a few months ago was that it was a pretty even blend of Sufjan and Regina Spektor...which makes for an original flow. Try on "Now.Now." for size.

With the exception of the Ryan Adams record, the rest are also available on eMusic.com a great subscription service with lots of rare, exclusive, and independent music...not to mention a lot of free stuff too. If you've never checked it out, do it.

July 16, 2007


I moved TheLifeAlaska.com from Wordpress to Blogger today, so if you've got a link or a bookmark, you'd be wise to either change it to http://thelifealaska.blogspot.com or use thelifealaska.com as a redirector. One of these days I'll write some code (or have it written for me) and host the project outside of a free service, but until then, you get what you pay for. Incidentally, if you're wondering why I changed, I find Blogger much more friendly to customization and it ties better with my personal blog.

July 15, 2007

Customer Service in a Wireless World

It’s been several news cycles since the Sprint 1000 story hit the wire. If you’re not familiar with the story, Sprint Nextel terminated 1000 customers who called customer service too often. The customers were notified by letter and given one month’s notice to find another cellular solution. Having been a Customer Service Manager for a wireless company, I feel I can provide some insight into the story. [Disclosure: I was not and am not employed by Sprint or any direct competitor.] There’s been lot of coverage of the story, so I’m sure I’m not bringing anything new to the table, but if you haven’t followed it, welcome to my two cents.

The cellular phone industry is consistently rated as one of the lowest in customer satisfaction. So right off the bat, we in the wireless industry are fighting an uphill battle.

No one calls their wireless company to tell them good news or to thank them…if they’re calling in, they’ve got an issue. Depending on a consumer’s personality, some call at the drop of a pin (yeah, a bad Sprint reference), while some wait until their life is really interrupted.

I heard some buzz about Sprint justifying the decision based on the cost of the resources needed to support these 1000 customers. A wireless company provides a call center free of charge to the customer, and the cost of operating this service shouldn't play into whether a customer is allowed to call or not. If cost is the issue, these 1000 customers certainly couldn't have affected Sprint's bottom line with a base of 54 million subs.

In my years in Customer Service in the wireless industry, did I ever terminate a customer? Yes, but the circumstances didn’t revolve around an amount of calls to the call center. As a customer service rep, you are called everything in the book; your intelligence, your socioeconomic status; even your name is attacked by an upset customer; so it’s no stretch to imagine that the dream scenario is to be able to retaliate by suspending the customer’s account. It was rare and well thought out to get to the point of disconnecting a customer. We kept track of how many calls came into the call center, but didn’t track it against calls per individual customer. I can see a value to knowing how many times a customer calls customer service, but only from a solution standpoint and not from a way of judging the quality of customer.

1000 phones is a pretty small drop in the bucket for one of America’s largest carriers. It doesn’t even budge their 2.7% churn rate, but how much of an effect will the Sprint 1000 have on the rest of their customer base. In the same way that customer’s personalities differ, it may cause some to consider other options now and others to consider this later.

Some recent research indicated that a carrier's customer service reputation doesn't affect a consumer's decision to start new service, but a huge percentage of consumers surveyed indicated that they have left a wireless carrier for how they were treated. I'm sure how fellow customers are treated can have just as big of an impact on this decision too.

On the other hand, I love their latest ad campaign...ask people in different capacities in a wireless company how the stuff works and it ultimately comes down to magic.

July 14, 2007

Unlikely Places

Those of you who have been following along for a while know that a little over a year ago my hard drive melted and the things I mourned the most were pictures...well, today Riche brought over a computer that I built for him before I left Alaska in 2005 which he hadn't booted up for 54 Windows updates. Securely saved on the hard drive were a majority of the pictures I lost in the meltdown. I plugged my external drive into the updating box and grabbed said photos. I'll be uploading some to flickr, but I leave you with this gem of the BLB from fall of 05, just weeks before I left.

July 12, 2007


There's no need for anyone else to email me telling me it's been a long time since my last post...I know, but thanks for the emails. Work and life have been rather hectic the last week or so. I have a few posts working themselves out in my head. One for sure about Sprint's decision to fire some of their customers for excessive customer service calls. Another about growing pains of a small business. Exciting stuff, let me tell you.

July 3, 2007

Everyone Else Is Doing It

It's kinda like the superhero deal that gets passed around every couple of months...everyone on the internet seems to be fascinated with Simpsons avatars. So in true lemming spirit I logged on and made my own. I expect you all to make your own.


According to my stats, my recent post on 6 things I wish you all had is one of my most popular posts ever. Most popular not to mention Zune Pros and Cons, Erin Andrews, or Daily Motion. Interesting that this drew the most attention, yet I barely received any action on any of those six services. Anyone using Twitter, del.icio.us, Flickr, LinkedIn, Last.FM, or Skype...if not, you should be and you should be adding me as a contact whether you have an account yet or you leave this post and go sign up.

Because It's Been Bugging Me

The following is a leme as defined by CherryRide. There's one piece of this thing that's been bugging me all day, so in light of that and ReckenRoll's doubt in me allowing myself to be tagged, here we go.

INSTRUCTIONS: Remove the blog in the top spot from the following list and bump everyone up one place. Then add your blog to the bottom slot, like so:
  1. Classy
  2. Meaning of Loaf
  3. Cherry Ride
  4. ReckenRoll
  5. MKinMotion

Select five people to tag:
  1. TMF
  2. Superwife
  3. Montes
  4. The Chindo
  5. Schmetzger...we can hope can't we?
What were you doing 10 years ago?
This is the question that has haunted me all day. I seriously can't remember 10 years ago. I used to have a strange memory wherein I could tell you what I did on any particular date, July 3rd 1997 has got me fooled. I know I was in college, it was pre coffee shop, so I was odd jobbing it. I know I was living in Beaverton, but I can't tell you how I spent that summer. Dominica in August. If only I had a blog 10 years ago to look at.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
Living in California, blogging more often than I do now. It looks like I'd attempted to break some copyright laws.

Five snacks you enjoy:
  1. Choggy
  2. Chex Mix
  3. Salt Water Taffy (the most underrated candy of all-time)
  4. Red Vines
  5. Fruit (fresh or even canned)
Five songs that you know all the lyrics to:
I'm the opposite of ReckenRoll with this one. I've never been good at memorizing lyrics. I love lyrics, but they don't always register with me. But there are some songs I can't forget.
  1. U2 - 4th of July
  2. Jimi Hendrix - Little Wing
  3. Red Hot Chili Peppers - Pretty Little Ditty
  4. Moby - Porcelain
  5. R.E.M. - New Orleans Instrumental No. 1 (In case you didn't get the joke)
Five things you would do if you were a millionaire:
All five things are written with the assumption that I were more than a millionaire in the literal sense of having just $1,000,000. Incidentally is someone who has a million Pounds (I was going to say quid after learning it is synonymous with Pound, but didn't want to seem pretentious) referred to as a millionaire, and if so do they feel jipped because they actually have about double an American millionaire?
  1. Build a cabin on a lake. What lake? Either Kenai Lake or somewhere in Central Oregon.
  2. Live in Spain for a year. Costa Del Sol or Barcelona.
  3. Buy an incredibly inefficient RV to tour the US in. See a baseball game in every MLB stadium, go to all the summer music festivals, take people with me.
  4. Buy professional recording equipment and get a band to record an album with in while I watch.
  5. South America...with friends...and fly rods.
Five bad habits:
  1. See favorite snacks above
  2. Overpromising blog posts
  3. Freecell...seriously
  4. Losing track of time
  5. Internet crushes...Watching foreign movies when I should be sleeping.
Five things you like doing:
This is pretty vague...
  1. Singing in the car
  2. Playing catch
  3. Taking pictures of people when they're unaware of me
  4. Reading the police report section of rural newspapers
  5. Skipping to the punchline of a joke and letting the rest of the joke be implied
Five things you would never wear again:
Me, the definition of mens' fashion...
  1. Denim Shorts
  2. Flannel Shirts
  3. Tails on a tuxedo
  4. White Jeans
  5. Intentionally torn clothes
Five favorite toys:
I'm gonna interpret this as favorite toys while growing up.
  1. Anything Star Wars
  2. Nintendo...the original
  3. GI Joe
  4. Duncan Yo-Yo
  5. He Man
Seems like a leme way to leave this, but that's all there is.