Life in Boxes

Been pretty slack on the blog due to the fact I am moving tomorrow. My life is currently in boxes. I have no idea where anything is at this point. The whole moving process is sort of cathartic in that I can now throw away everything I don’t use anymore and start anew. I am giving away my worldly possessions and downsizing my life. Looking forward to the new house and hood, and most of all looking forward to not moving anymore.

After the move… I have grand plans for myself this summer of which I’ll likely only achieve like 20% of what I set out to do. My two projects designed to keep me sane before I go to grad school in the fall are to write and record a 10 song album, with the working title “The Legend of the Neuse”. Likely all songs about growing up in the South and myths from the area. We’ll see how far i get, I’ve written most of the title song already.

The other project is to hopefully is hopefully sit down and write a book on web analytics. The more I think about it, the more daunting it is, as you don’t want to give away how you do things within your company. This is the reason I believe all the current web metrics books are vague and ultimately not too helpful as they are not anything but a broad overview like this is what a visit is, a conversrion is this, etc. No one wants to spill the beans on how they drove a 600% increase in online sales by buying these 4 keywords from Yahoo, instead of Google because the conversion rate for first time visitors was twice the normal rate and so on. That project is going to be a little harder and may never see the light of day. Plus I am nowhere as articulate (ie SMART) as people like Avinash Kaushik.

Anywho…tunes from yesterday.

1) Travis – Safe

2) Radiohead – Climbing up the Walls (frightening song, lots of banging metal and clanging)

3) Sufjan Stevens – The Predatory Wasp of the Palisades is Out to Get Us

4) The Futureheads – Carnival Kids

5) Grant Lee Buffalo – Goodnight John Dee

6) CCR – Suzie Q

7) The Doors – Five to One

8) Wolf Parade – It’s a Curse


New Pearl Jam Album, cleverly titled “Pearl Jam”

So there has been a lot of marketing going on calling this PJ's "comeback album" which I suppose in some respects is somewhat accurate but not completely. In the early days of Pearl Jam, most of the songs were built on sheer aggression and sing along anthems. My personal favorite of the early years was the album Vs., which to me was raw savage music played by 5 guys thinking they could change the world. Songs like "Go", "Animal", "Leash", "Rearviewmirror", "Blood" were brutal in its lyrics as well as its sonic attack. Loud distorted guitars, big drums, tons of screaming, and lyrics about a teenage wasteland. When it came out I was around 16 or so, and it became a fixture in my tapedeck (in the sweet Buick Skyhawk I bought for $1,000)
Fast forward to 2006, and their 8th studio album rolls out. I tried to listen to the album objectively without thinking about past successes and failures with their music over the last 15 years. And tried to approach the album as its own entity, not the 8th album by one of my favorite bands. The research was conducted over 2 weeks of listening to the album about 25 times or so. Right out of the box, I really liked the first song called "Life Wasted". To me that song seems like something from the old aggressive days of Vs., but without some of the rawness. A lot of the aggression of the album seems to center on the war on terror and its affect on the American pysche and really runs as an undercurrent throughout the album, and more obviously on tracks like "World Wide Suicide" and "Army Reserve". After the first couple of songs the next few are rather pedestrian. Yeah they are loud and crunchy, but ulitmately pretty boring. I really don't like the song "Comatose" and strikes me as odd its the 3rd song on the album. It was deleted from the Ipod. The fifth song "Marker in the Sand" sounds a little sing-songy, but still ultimately enjoyable. The next song "Parachutes" is pretty wretched in my opinion, though a lot of reviewers like it, just not me. The 2nd best song on the album rolls around with "Unemployable" and wouldn't be shocked if it was the next single after "Life Wasted" and "World Wide Suicide". Great song, great lyrics. The back end of the album starts to sound like filler except for "Army Reserve" and "Inside Job" , both excellent songs. 

So is this a return for Pearl Jam? Um…I'd say not really. They don't have the raw, tension they had at the beginning of the 90's, but then again you can't do that forever. They are a band that still is putting out quality material without relying on the same old formula time in and time out and I've always respected them for doing that. So for "Pearl Jam" I'd have to rate the album a solid "B minus".

If you are wondering how the rest of the PJ catalog rates for me here ya go:

1) Ten – A minus (really good debut, don't like the production as much as Vs)
2) Vs – A plus (great songs throughout and has a raw sound to it)

3) Vitalogy – B plus (some great stuff (ie "Last Exit","Whipping", "Betterman", etc) and then some weird crap (ie "Bugs" and "Hey Foxymophandlemama, That's Me")

4) No Code – B minus (I've come to enjoy this album over time, especially "Hail,Hail" and "Red Mosquito")

5) Yield – C plus ("MFC", "Do the Evolution" rock, the rest is kinda boring)

6) Binaural – C (some quality with "Breakerfall", "Insignificance", "Sleight of Hand")

7) Riot Act – D (couldn't tell you the names of most of the songs cuz they never made much of an impact) 

Emancipate Yourself From Mental Slavery

so, its been a week or so since I rambled about anything. Honestly, I've been swamped with things going on at work and personally, but I've missed the blogging. So its good to be back and a nice change to sit in front of a computer and not be working on something.


So seriously what is the appeal of American Idol? If I wanted to see bad karokee singers butcher hideous songs, I'd go down to East Village on a Tuesday nite and watch all the drunk college girls murder some crappy songs from the Grease soundtrack. I just don't get it. 

So Barry Bonds (America's #1 pariah) finally caught Babe Ruth the other day, but my favorite moment of the baseball season came a few days earlier. After hitting a couple of lasers vs the Astros and with the score out of hand, he stepped up against reliever Russ Springer in the 5th inning. And Springer decides that Bonds ain't going to catch the Babe on his watch and promptly throws 4 straight pitchs at Barry's hugemongus, steroid-juiced melon until hitting him with the 4th pitch in the upper back. High comedy. Not sure what took pitchers so long to get this strategy rolling. The best part was the applause from the Houston fans. Priceless.

Songs for a Thursday:

1) White Stripes – Passive Manipulation

2) Sly & the Family Stone – Stand!

3) Ryan Adams – The Shadowlands

4) Magnificent Bastards – Mockingbird

5) Kayne West – Heard 'Em Say

6) Kayne West – My Way Home

7) Pinback – Non Photo-Blue (one of Bob's favs)

8) Rogue Wave – Every Moment

9) Bob Marley – Redemption Song (also where title of this post comes from) 

So the first song was from the White Stripes, but for the last week or so I've been rocking out to Jack White's other band the Raconteurs. Their debut album came out last week and its been in heavy rotation since. I like the mix of the White Stripes grimy blues combined with the Beatles-esque sound of the other singer/songwriter Brendan Benson. In fact, I like them much more than the White Stripes, as this album seems to be more approachable than any of White's other efforts. So that is my mini-review of their album. Its good, buy it. 

Monday Monday

Songs for a post-Mother's Day world…

1) The Beatles – Blackbird

2) Bob Dylan – Seven Curses (from the fantabulous Bootleg Series)

3) Whiskeytown – Rays of Burning Light (Adams doing his best Westerberg)

4) Mark Lanegan – Creeping Coastline of Lights

5) Neil Young – Cinnamon Girl

6) Jose Gonzalez – Broken Arrows

not bad, not bad at all. Pumped up for a solid monday and a basketball game tonite. Currently on the season I think i am averaging like 2 pts and like 12 rebounds a game. I am the midget version of Dennis Rodman, minus the insanity. Got some analytics posts to will be hatched later in the week. stay tuned.

Link to other Web Analytic Ramblings

One of the sites I like to check out everyday is the posts from folks on the Yahoo Web Analytics Forum, it makes my daily reading:

Web Analytics Forum

The quote I liked from today was this: "put 90% of your resources into people and 10% into your tools". This is so true. No matter what analytic tool you end up with, you'll still need the analysts to make sense of it all and offer insight into the metrics. I am currently struggling to figure out the paradigm right now on how to go about getting folks in the right mindset to do the heavy lifting. As tools get easier to use and it gets easier to pump out loads-o-data, it becomes supremely important to be able to churn through all the data and come up with something relevant to do with it. 

Its Friday

tunes for I-40…

1) The Police – Roxanne

2) Whiskeytown – Sitting Around

3) Ben Harper – Not Fire Not Ice

4) The Clash – I'm Not Down

5) Ryan Adams – Somehow, Someday

Not sure I ever mentioned it but, "London Calling" from the Clash is like in my top 5 albums.  Just a phenomenal record, and I really want to get the extended, remastered version with like 30 bonus tracks of demos, etc. 

Everytime I hear Ben Harper play acoustic solo stuff, I am reminded of the impressive show my Project Mayhem crew ventured to see at UVa about 5 or 6 years ago. We partied like Motley Crue and stayed with my bro and I was floored by how good Harper was that nite. He played an hour or so of straight funk/rock and then the last 45 min or so was all acoustic solo. and not a person made a noise. No one yelled "Play some Skynyrd!!" or some lame crap like that. Everyone was in silent awe.  Really cool. And then we partied some more at the Buddha Biker Bar in Charlottesville and the 5 of us crashed at my bro's 150 year old, 300 sq ft aparement, and I was already sick and the sickness later morphed into pneumonia. Good times. Also, the opening act was Jack Johnson who didnt even have a record out when we saw him. 

Enjoy your Mama's Day…

Tuesday Musings

So…I forgot to mention I saw "Thank You For Smoking" this past weekend….good lord that is a funny movie. And honestly, it skewers both sides of the fence, not just the tobacco industry. The Merchants of Death crew killed me. While it points out that big tobacco is peddling death, the key point of the movie can't be emphasized enough…it comes down to personal choice and responsibility. With our ligation-gone-amuck society we are constantly overlooking that no one is holding a gun to your head saying you have to smoke, that you have to eat a Big Mac, or that you have watch certain things on TV. It should be up to you, which is one of the benefits in living in a relatively free society. One interesting tidbit…there is never a cigarette shown in the whole movie. 

Yesterday's drive-in tunes…

1) Cody Chestnutt – My Women My Guitar (probably not appearing on any radio stations anytime soon)

2) Son Volt – Back Into Your World

3) The Who – Who Are You (reminds me…I need to listen to more Who, and reminds me why I have a Fender TeleCaster)

4) Sunny Day Real Estate – Tearing at My Heart

5) Ray LaMontagne – Trouble (faux Van Morrison for 00's…there is only one VM)

6) Fall-Out Boy – Sugar, We're Goin Down (guilty pleasure…as I generally hate anything on MTV)

7) Ryan Adams – Cherry Lane

Also, ate at Joe's Place in downtown Raleigh last nite. Waitress asked if i ever order anything different, which I guess means I go there a lot (only like 50 times or so). Anyways…it is definitely worth checking out for some good eats (I always get the BBQ) and real cheap…Here is a link to it on CitySearch: Joe's Place