6 Songs Say A Lot

I’ve seen this on a few blogs around the web and figured I’d take a shot at the meme. The premise originated on NPR and asks you to basically define yourself with a few songs. I’d love to know your songs, too.

What was the first song you ever bought?
One Christmas I received two copies of Huey Lewis and the News’ Fore! and for the first time in my life I was given the choice of what music I wanted. Of course, I opted for Wang Chung’s Mosaic because of the song “Everybody Have Fun Tonight.” I have no regrets. It’s still a great song even if no one knows was it means to Wang Chung tonight.

What song always gets you dancing?
I’m not a dancer, but it never fails that any time I hear Electric Light Orchestra’s “Mr. Blue Sky” I lose control and have to move to it. I dare you to try and sit still while you hear this song.

What song takes you back to your childhood?
Star. Wars. Theme. What you expected depth?

What is your perfect love song?
Since 1987, the answer’s been the same. “With or Without You”

What song would you want at your funeral?
They wouldn’t be my all-time favorite band if they didn’t show up on this list more than once. U2’s “Bad” has always been on the short list for favorite song ever. One of my favorite performances of it was captured in Rattle and Hum.

Time for an encore. One last song that makes you, you.
Maybe I’m being a little nostalgic, but underneath the overwhelming 80s influence, The Boss will always make me think of lifelong friends, growing up in the ‘burbs, and make me wish I could write songs. “No Surrender” brings it all.

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2010 Movies List

2010 wasn’t a great year for movies. Normally it’s easy for me to come up with a list of 10 movies that I thought were great, but 2010 had a lot of ups and downs. Therefore, I give you my Top 7 movies of 2010. And of these 7, I only think that the first one will be remembered as a great film in the future.

7. Green Zone
Interesting movie about the war in Iraq. Matt Damon takes some of his Bourne identity into this role about a cover-up surrounding WMDs. Directed by Paul Greengrass who also directed the second and third Bourne movies. There’s something to be said for directors and actors having chemistry. Speaking of…
6. Shutter Island
Thriller from Martin Scorsese that takes twists and turns. It’s made very creatively, taking you in and out of thinking you know the whole story. Leonardo DiCaprio is fantastic. Scorsese and DiCaprio have worked together on Gangs of New York, The Aviator, and The Departed.
5. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World
I’m not a comic book reader, so I didn’t have a lot of ideas about Scott Pilgrim before seeing it. Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) does a great job of manufacturing the feel of a comic jumping between the reality and the super-reality.
4. Greenberg
I love Noah Baumbach. I saw Kicking and Screaming back in 1996 and remember rewinding the VHS tape and watching it again immediately. Also notable from Baumbach are Margot and the Wedding, The Squid and the Whale, and his writing of Wes Anderson’s Life Aquatic. Ben Stiller is great as the mostly crazy title character, and the cast that surrounds him is also super.
3. The Social Network
Certainly a timely movie. Certainly a movie about the world we live in. This film about the creation of Facebook is well written (Aaron Sorkin) and well directed (David Fincher). Justin Timberlake will probably surprise me every time he shows up in a movie, because he does a great job. Jesse Eisenberg is incredible. I especially liked seeing the way they documented the process of Zuckerberg producing Facebook. As a process guy, it’s always interesting to see the conception, design, and end product.
2. The Town
I’m unapologetic about liking Ben Affleck. He’s made some strange choices in roles through the year, but to me he’s an ideal movie star, commanding your attention on the screen. When I go back and watch Good Will Hunting, some of his performances are the best in the film. The Town is raw and organic and I credit Affleck’s directing. The acting from Affleck, Jon Hamm, Rebecca Hall and Blake Lively takes you right into Charlestown.
1. Inception
The feeling I had when I watched Inception reminded me of when I first saw The Matrix or Fifth Element. The term is speculative fiction. Create a world that feels like ours but introduce something new that changes everything. From the moment I first saw the trailer to the time I actually sat down in the theater, I had no idea what the movie was about, but I knew it was a big, epic idea. The story is the star of the film, but between Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Tom Hardy, and Ken Watanabe, the cast helps drive that story. I like the complexity, the multiple plot points, and especially the ambiguity of the ending. Christopher Nolan created an idea and executed it with superb direction.

Just enough flaw to keep them off the list:
The Book of Eli
I’m a sucker for post-apocalyptic stories. There isn’t much wrong with this movie. Denzel Washington might be the only part of the movie that I didn’t like.
The American
A beautiful movie directed by a photographer in the European style didn’t resonate too much with Americans. I enjoyed it a lot, but the slow pacing and predictable nature of the main plot took away from the effort.
Robin Hood
I wanted to feel good about liking this movie, but I couldn’t. It’s a story that’s been told so many times it’s hard to keep track of what the “real” story of Robin Hood is. I liked Russell Crowe’s performance and I thought it was well made. Some of the other characters were a little light and the big battle scene was pretty weak compared to the rest of the film.

5 Movies I haven’t seen yet, that I’m sure belong on a list like this:
Black Swan
The Fighter
Rabbit Hole
127 Hours
True Grit

Fun movies worth seeing, despite not having much substance, great for an excuse to eat popcorn or chuckle:
The Other Guys
The A-Team
Dinner For Schmucks
Due Date
Knight and Day
Date Night

Revisiting 2007

In June of 2007, when I was much more of a faithful blogger, I wrote an article called “Six Things I Wish You Had“. In this article, I mention six things I was in to at the time that I was wishing my friends also did. The list in short: Flickr, Last.fm, Twitter, Skype, LinkedIn, Del.icio.us. Flickr and Twitter have remained staples in my online life. Last.fm is still tracking every song I listen to in iTunes, but I can’t remember the last time the social aspect of it was used. I only use Skype now very occasionally for prearranged conversations. LinkedIn still gets used, but not very actively. Del.icio.us still gets used, but I forget a lot of times to bookmark things, so it’s definitely not top of mind.
As 2010 comes to a close, I thought of how I might say the same thing. Here are 6 things I wish you had:

1. Twitter
Twitter has become so much more than the “micro-blogging site” I described in 2007. It’s a way to get news, info, and communicate with people. It’s come a long way from a thousand people saying what they had for breakfast.
2. Flickr
I was recently flipping through some folders on my hard drive with a ton of photos I took the summer of 2005. That’s prior to when I joined Flickr…also prior to Facebook or other ways of quickly sharing photos with friends and family all around the world.
3. Facebook
I was on Facebook in 2007, but was still skeptical of it. In 2010, I’ve embraced the idea that there is little difference in my offline and online life. I still hold some standards around who I allow access to my Facebook profile, and by doing so, I believe I can be more genuine.
4. 8Tracks
8Tracks is a very cool site that I’ve been into for a little over a year. It allows you to create and share playlists of music. Kinda right up my alley…and I got featured as an 8Tracks DJ a while back.
5. Songkick
Songkick is a great idea for people to plug in musicians and bands they like and keep track of when they are coming to town to play. My favorite feature is the Gigography that lets you build a timeline of all the shows you’ve seen over the years.
6. Last.fm
Last.fm has been tracking just about every song I’ve listened to since early 2006. It’s great for discovery and for my nerdy graphing side, I can trend my music over time.

I encourage you to join any of these social networks and/or add me as a contact. It’s the world we live in now, and I imagine in 2013 if I were to revisit this again it would be whole new ways we’re connecting to each other.

Future Posts: Some From You, Some From Me

I have a lot of friends who don’t blog themselves, but in some ways, blog vicariously through me. I’m fine with that. While I’d love to read their thoughts as they come through Google Reader, I’ve come to terms with it. But occasionally I’ll tell a story or have a conversation offline and then I get an email asking why it didn’t show up on mkinmotion.com. Well, as you can tell, I don’t blog very regularly anymore so every conversation, every story or every great point I make doesn’t make it onto the blog. But with numerous requests and a few recent ideas, here are some future posts you can look forward to in the coming days.

– My Return to College
– My Ride Along with Anchorage Police Department (this might be the most requested I’ve ever had)
– My thoughts on MOMA (I may just have to add a blurb about tiger attacks)
– My thoughts on The Beat Museum
– The state of College Football
– Odd similarities between air travel and laundromats

And in light of adding #1 to an already busy schedule, I’ll have to pencil these in over the next week. If you’ve got any last minute requests for me to add to the list, you can comment or email.

If You Want To Make The Best Album in 2008…

…learn a lesson or two from these artists.

It’s that time of year again….everyone else is doing it so why shouldn’t I? 2007 has been a long, funny diverse year in my life and the music business has been pretty much on par with it. I’m breaking lists in half this year to recognize not only the best albums of the year, but also the breakthroughs, discoveries, fresh looks too. Obviously neither list is in any particular order.

First the 13 best breakthroughs…
Deerhunter – Cryptograms
Au Revoir Simone – The Bird of Music
Peter, Bjorn & John – Writer’s Block (“Young Folks” might scream 2007 in 5 years, but it might be the song of the year…and a good ringtone)
Of Montreal – Hissing Fauna, Are You the Destroyer?
St. Vincent – Marry Me
Foreign Born – On the Wing Now
Amy Winehouse – Back to Black (surprised?)
Elvis Perkins – Ash Wednesday
Okkervil River – The Stage Names
Stars – In Our Bedroom After the War
I’m From Barcelona – Let Me Introduce My Friends (Incidentally makes a frigid Alaska day feel a bit warmer)
Kathy Diamond – Miss Diamond to You
Coconut Records – Nighttiming

The 13 Best Albums of 2007
Josh Ritter – The Historical Conquests of Josh Ritter
Bruce Springsteen – Magic
Wilco – Sky Blue Sky
Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
Spoon – Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga
Feist – The Reminder
Ryan Adams – Easy Tiger
Band of Horses – Cease to Begin
Radiohead – In Rainbows
Kings of Leon – Because of the Times
The Shins – Wincing the Night Away
The National – Boxer
Bjork – Volta

And finally 13 albums I know I’m leaving off…but they’re not far from the list
Travis – The Boy With No Name
Eisley – Combinations
KT Tunstall – Drastic Fantastic
Beirut – The Flying Club Cup
Colin Hay – Are You Lookin’ At Me? (great cameo in Scrubs in season premiere of Scrubs)
Son Volt – The Search
Paul McCartney – Memory Almost Full
Athlete – Beyond the Neighbourhood
The Broken West – I Can’t Go On, I’ll Go On
Iron & Wine – The Shepherd’s Dog
Nine Inch Nails – Year Zero
Modest Mouse – We Were Dead Before The Ship Even Sank
Dan Wilson – Free Life

Incidentally I’m looking forward to some very promising new records in 2008, but that’s another post.

And in case you missed it, here is my post for the Best of 2006. And get your copy of Superbad Tuesday.