Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Winter Solstice

Thanks so much for reading KennyK this year. Thanks for your attention, consideration and comments. Writing this blog is one of the highlights of my day, every day. The incredible feedback, whether it's an email, twitter, blog comment or discussion over a pint, is a big part of what makes this worth doing. The second component that makes it worth it are the moments I now reserve for self reflection and articulation.

The combination of feedback, self reflection and articulation is making me smarter...much smarter. In fact, right now, I'm learning at a pace that is far quicker than at any other time in my life and that makes me very happy. And I owe it all to you and this blog. Thanks. I'm looking forward to a wonderful 2009 and I'll see you again on the 5th of January as I'll be vacationing in Donner with the family until then. I'll leave you with a song, a picture and a memory.

First, the song. It's called Post-War by M. Ward. I love the laziness of the melody and the lyrics mean something to me. Mostly, it's just a beautiful song from one of my favorites artists.

Now, the picture. It's titled Winter Solstice, it's by Chrissl12 and it's beautiful.

Finally, a memory: While at Kellogg, my friend Lisa Sweet ran a little experiment and asked me to cut out pictures that meant something to me. I went through magazines, newspapers and old photos. When we sifted through my selections, the recurring themes were friendship, fun, love and relaxation. It was a nice conversation that brought up wonderful memories. As I got up to leave a few hours later, Lisa said, "You know, every one of those pictures has water in it."

Incredibly, she was right. In that moment, she taught me something about my fundamental view of everything important to me. Those observations are some of the nicest things we can do for each other.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Will Sheff

A couple weeks past I got to see Will Sheff at Cafe Du Nord. It was a really cool show. For those of you who don't know, he's the lead singer of Okervil River, an up and coming band. This concert was really mellow. Everyone was crowded in as close as possible and there was a lot of hushed silence. It was one of those really intense audiences. Anyways, Courtney and I had a great time, and for you ladies, Courtney thought he was pretty good looking too.

A few weeks ago, Sheff did a guest DJ spot on NPR's All Songs Considered. Check it out.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ataxia: LivingWithAtaxia.org

Last month you will recall that my buddy Ben Munoz and I launched LivingWithTN.org. It's a site devoted to patients with Trigeminal Neuralgia (TN) helping other patients with TN. It's modeled on the community that Ben founded after his AVM aneurysm, called AVMSurvivors.org. AVM Survivors consists of over 500 folks and I'm happy to report that LivingWithTN has about 70 folks actively participating.

Given how well both networks are going and the personal satisfaction we get out of helping out on them, Ben and I decided to start another network, LivingWithAtaxia.org. We're kind of making this up as we go, but Ben and I felt confident we could handle another network because the participation at existing ones are so strong. We chose Ataxia because it's a neurological issue and a lot of people, 150,000, suffer from it. The network is off to a good start with 90 members already. The growth is mostly due to Alan Thomas, an incredibly inspirational guy, spreading the word. You can find Alan's blog here.

Anyways, I thought I would just give a quick update on our efforts. If you have ideas, suggestions or anything else you want to share, shoot me an email or check me out at LivingWithAtaxia.org. Cheers.

Priceless

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Bags

If you are going to the movies, and trying to sneak food into the show, you want to go with someone who has a bag like this. :)

NetBooks

A good friend of mine tipped me off to the growth trend in NetBooks. This class of computer is smaller and are great for working off the net, but don't have a lot of other functionality. I keep reading dispatches from TechCrunch saying how popular they are getting. This is a trend to watch. Google Apps aren't quite there, at least for me, but give them another year, and the NetBook will be even more appealing.

I'm pretty confident that the version of Microsoft Office that I just bought, will be the last check I ever write Microsoft again (except for OS & maybe Advertising $).

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Graduation Present

I just got my graduation present from my mom framed and hung on the wall. It's a 1st Edition Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand. I've been a huge fan of the book since I first read it about 5 years ago and passed it on to my mother and later my step brother. It sounds cheesey to say, but reading it made a big difference in our attitudes towards life. My mom remembered it and got it for me when I graduated Kellogg. This was one of the best gifts of my life and I'm really glad to have it on my wall.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

2008 Year in Review

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Coffee

I've had a few discussions with friends lately over my favorite new vice, Coffee. It's not really new, but I just enjoy drinking it a lot more lately. It used to be a necessary drug when I was working really late. Now, I associate it with fun and relaxation. Is this consistent with what other people in their early 30's are experiencing?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I Love Photos

Epic photos from Boston.com's year of 2008 collection. 3 different sets. check them all out. A couple that were my favorites for different reasons below.





Friday, December 19, 2008

Outrage!

Update: make sure to read Alex's comment below and click through. Wow.

As the Sports Guy points out, Bob Barker would have never reacted like this. Is Drew Carey alive still? There are people who read this blog who know Bob Barker quite well, it's time for you to make a few phone calls. We need him back.

Friday Chill Music (December 19, 2008)

Today's Friday Chill Music is a simple link to All Songs Considered "Top 25 CD's" of the year. It's a list that I completely agree with. I've actually listened to it twice already, and I've replayed a couple songs even more. I don't want to spoil the order for you, but Bon Iver, Fleet Foxes, She & Him, Vampire Weekend and Jenny Lewis are all on the list. Furthermore, hidden gems (at least for me) like the song Mississippi by Dylan are included. Finally, I can proudly say, "I Get" the Kings of Leon after hearing Manhattan.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Future of Books

This feels like the future of books to me.

Maybe I'm atypical though. I "surf" the net through Google Reader & the Feeds I've loaded into it, almost exclusively now. If you're not using an RSS reader, you're missing out.

Queen of Larbs

I've found a great new blog via my friends at I'm All Ears. The new blog is called Queen Larbs of Strumpet Valley, or "Larbage" to us civilians.

The post, "You Are Ridiculous," is a great take on privacy on the Internet.

And the blog is peppered with funny, personal backstories on the author, like, "Did You Know?

Enjoy the Larbage.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

via Bain: Crowdsprout

Alex Bain posted an interesting note on his new company called Crowdsprout today. It's the first media coverage I've seen on the company, which is going after group buying. The article was by Gus Sentementes in the Baltimore Sun. According to the article:

"CrowdSprout is groups of buyers banding together, receiving the best prices available on their favorite products by purchasing in volume."

Group buying on the Internet has been done before. In fact, the fine folks at Mercata sold me my frist big screen TV in 1999, at a heavily subsidized price. Mercata never caught on though, partly because electronic suppliers forced them to take inventory, which ate up a lot of cash, and partly because it was still hard to self assemble on the web in 1999 & 2000. Today? We have social networks up the wazoo, IM and Twitter. Self assembly is so much easier. You can create a virtual group in minutes and Search, whether it's Google or Twitter, is so good now, that outsiders can find and join your group almost as quickly as your friends. I'm not exactly sure what Alex's plan is, but it feels like Crowdsprout has a real shot.

Sign up for their beta and let's try it together.

Monday, December 15, 2008

LuvvBugg Blog

Some friends and I have been working on a new kind of dating site called LuvvBugg and we've started a blog - LuvvBugg Blog - to get ourselves in the mood (and build a little readership).

Here's the twist, we're posting funny dating stories from...YOU. That's right, friends have been sending in funny dating stories and I post them.

Of course, you can never have enough good stories, so I'd really appreciate it if you send in a few to: queenbee(at)luvvbugg(dot)com. Stories will be posted anonymously on request and we're happy to link to your blog or anything else you want to promote.

In the meantime, enjoy the site and please pass it on to your friends.
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High Flight

Cool pic I discovered via Photografr blog.

Recession Advice via Away

from my buddy Dave on his Away blog:

"Here is the reason I think my company will be successful in the economic downturn (aside from its track record). I just bought a car and was discussing the transaction with our CEO. He tells me he wants to buy a car for his mom. So I say - “oh - what are you going to get her.” He responds “A 2003 Ford Explorer with 60k miles.” Cost control starts at the top my friend and you have to live and breath it."

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Sir Hall & Oates

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Fred Wilson on Auto Bailout

I work in finance too and see a lot of tough situations with bridge financing and companies on the precipice. I couldn't agree with Fred Wilson's thoughts on the auto industry more. Read the whole post, please.

"It's one thing to be pro-union (I am at times) but it's another thing completely to be using taxpayer money to protect an unsustainable cost structure that is partially based on above market labor costs. I really don't know why it takes a year to negotiate a union contract, but if they want to auto industry to survive, the union leaders ought to be prepared to rip up their current contract and negotiate a new one over the weekend. That's how things are done when you are on the verge of going out of business and losing $4.4bn per month."

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Chill Music (December 12, 2008)

Welcome to Friday Chill Music. We're almost to the holidays and it feels great. Over the next couple of weeks, I'll be posting my favorite albums of the year list and excerpts from Sunday Morning 12, my hangover/makeout mix I produce every year. It will take me a few days to get orgaized.

First up is John Hamilton's Holiday Mix.

Midweek music fix - holiday edition

Let Me Sleep, It's Christmas Time is an awesome PJ song. The live version is pretty epic, but I can't find it. I also like the Wheepies and MMJ's contribution.

Next is Bon Iver. This album will certainly be in my Top 5.

Bon Iver - Re: Stacks

3rd is the Fleet Foxes. Another Top 5 album of the year for me. Enjoy.

Fleet Foxes - White Winter Hymnal

I liked this song that Anne Hubert posted from Okervil River guys, singing acoustic. I'm going to Cafe Du Nord next Friday on the 19th to see them and I can't wait.

And with that, I'll leave you with one of Mollycoddled's wonderful weekday poems. Today is Friday of course. Check her out and have a great weekend.
if friday was a lad, i would kiss
his lips & his face, oh what bliss!
the day, sweet romance
it's time for a dance
friday, love, nothing's better than this!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Making Toast

I had a few quiet hours this week and made it through the New Yorker already. I realize I've been linking to them a lot, but whenever I have vacation time, I catch up on my reading.

Anyways, I loved this article, Making Toast. It's a little sad. It's about a grandfather, talking about how the family is managing through the loss of his daughter, who had a husband and three small children. It's beautifully written, touching and something that I thought deserved to be highlighted here.

Pearl Jam Reissues Ten

"Once Upon a Time..."
 Once - Pearl Jam

That's how it all started with Ten. Pearl Jam's first album. I became a full fledged PJ nut and I only got more into them with Vs. and Vitalogy. that's why I was fired up when Joel Hopman wrote in about the new Ten reissue. I'll be getting the super duper deluxe version.

John Hamilton covered this on his blog too. In fact, I think it was PJ fandom that made John and I first become friends.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Jackie on Chicago Politics

My friend Jackie Keenan reporting on the craziness in Chicago politics.

Discounting Diapers

Interesting article from Kellogg Insight about how consumer product companies - like Diaper and Soup makers - also play the end of the quarter, make your numbers game. It's well known in the software, and probably other capex oriented markets, that the best deals come at the end of the quarter. Vendors are desperate to make their numbers, and Buyers have a lot of power. However, this new research from Chapman & Steenburgh shows that these practices are widespread. Interesting quote from the studies' author:
“The more I’ve presented the paper, the more it’s clear that everybody—from software companies to cars to contractors—is doing this to make their financial targets,” Chapman says. “It’s a basic tool of business.”

What I find interesting, is that cutting numbers is not a "basic business tool." It's something that companies do to the detriment of their long term business. They train the customer to expect discounts. Here is a cool quote by Barry Diller, CEO of Interactive Group, where he talks about both the responsibility to not cut jobs if they don't need to be cut, but also how trying to "beat the quarter" is the wrong way to think. “It’s not that you don’t want to earn as much money as you can — it is your obligation, of course — but companies have obligations beyond that and they certainly have obligations beyond that at certain times, in the times in which they operate. And they also certainly ought to know that meeting and beating expectations is probably yesterday’s game and it will be increasingly so, which would be by the way very healthy for companies. Running a company that meets and beats expectations, and that runs their company accordingly, are companies that I would question why anyone would invest in.”

I'm with Barry on this one.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Publish or Perish?

Interesting NY Times op-ed on the evolving Publishing and Book industries by James Gleick called, How to Publish Without Perishing. I found this via "Give Me Something to Read." Things are changing so fast right now, I almost don't know which way is up anymore. The Tribune goes bankrupt? Is that a sign of the times or what? Check out this quote about a new day in publishing:

"One could imagine the book, venerable as it is, just vanishing into the ether. It melts into all the other information species searchable through Google’s most democratic of engines: the Web pages, the blogs, the organs of printed and broadcast news, the general chatter. (Thanks for everything, Gutenberg, and now goodbye.)

But I don’t see it that way. I think, on the contrary, we’ve reached a shining moment for this ancient technology. Publishers may or may not figure out how to make money again (it was never a good way to get rich), but their product has a chance for new life: as a physical object, and as an idea, and as a set of literary forms"

The book is already being reinvented by the Amazon Kindle, and journalism is being reinvented by blogs and online news services. How will the newspaper or publishing businesses reinvent themselves? I don't know.

What I do know, is that Jeff Tweedy's line in Ashes of American Flags puts it best, "I know I'd die, if I could come back new." Have a listen...

Wilco - Ashes Of American Flags.mp3

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An Albatross

It's no secret that I love Seth Godin's work, but my buddy, and partner in www.livingwithtn.org, Ben Munoz sent this article on Building an Albatross to me on Sunday. I really liked it because Godin uses a beautiful analogy. An albatross requires a slow takeoff and perfect conditions to get up in the air, but once airborne, can fly forever at a resting heartbeat.

LivingWithTN is an org for folks with Trigeminal Neuralgia that Ben and I talked about starting for 6 months. We finally got it going when the winds and launch pad were right. It's been a blast and incredibly rewarding for the 3 weeks we've been live. We've made 45+ new friends in just 3 weeks. Hopefully our glide path lasts for a while. :)

via Schweifler: Swingin' Christmas

After the Sunday Morning 12 launch party yesterday (kindly hosted by the Kaisers), I'm officially fired up for the holidays. Aaron Schweifler was kind enough to recommend this Pandora Station, "Swingin' Christmas." This is the best assortment of Christmas music I've had the pleasure of listening to. Check the station out and let's get the Holidays started.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Autographs

Dreyer's Grand Ice Cream Holdings, Inc.Image via WikipediaReally enjoyed this interview of Dreyer's CEO in today's SFGate.com. Interesting that ice cream sales are up in this down economy. Says something about how we drown our sorrows in ice cream. Also loved this anecdote.

"And a younger woman came up to me and she said, "Are you the ice cream guy?" And I said, "What do you mean?" She said, "Well, are you the Dreyer's guy?" I said, "Yeah I guess, kind of, I'm supposed to be the next president." And she said, "Well, there are about 15 little kids in the backyard who want your autograph."
 
Now there is nothing I could have done in life that would've caused kids to ask for my autograph. Not a musical talent, not sports, nothing I could have achieved. And that wasn't because of me, it's because ice cream is so essential to people."Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Old School Search Technology


This is how Search Technology used to work in the old days.

(those are phone books in case you can't see it)

via Mercer: Win Some, Lose Some

funny from Mercer.

"It doesn’t always work out. That’s what makes this game so interesting. Will they suddenly wake up at their stop and bolt for the door? Will someone sit down next to them and disrupt my angle? Will they catch on to me, forcing me to abandon the drawing?
Game on.
And yes, she quickly packed up exited the train without much warning."
"

Friday, December 5, 2008

Arc & Pier


Arc & Pier - Two things that sound like they don't go together, until you look at this picture and listen to this (except multiply it by 6x to get the concert experience that I can't seem to paste in here).

Arc - Pearl Jam

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Friday Chill Music (December 5, 2008)

Quickies today as I'm battling the flu.

Hey Champ - Cold Dust Girl - from I'm all Ears. I'm not even going to pretend I'm cool enough to know what's going on in this video.



New Neko Case coming (Spin article courtesy of Matt Ziser)



People Get Ready - cover by Eva Cassidy on Bijan's blog. I love the Rod Stewart version, and this is really cool too.

War on War - Wilco - old school Wilco. I love song. It was the lead off song to a Sunday Morning. Did I mention Sunday Morning is a wrap? Done. Finito. If you want a copy, leave a comment.

Cool as Mudd

via Graham Mudd


Radiohead - Weird fishes/Arpeggi from Tom Geraedts on Vimeo.

It's Back

Everything about this is wonderful, except the guy playing piano.

via Tim Goodman

Monday, December 1, 2008

Knives

Really cool article on knives in the New Yorker titled, "Sharper." It's amazing the level of craftsmanship and material science that goes into making knives. The star of the piece is Bob Kramer, famous for his Kramer Knives.

You'll have to find a hard copy of this article but it's well worth it.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Milk on Charlie Rose

Sean Penn, Josh Brolin and Gus Van Sant were all on Charlie Rose this weekend. Thanks for the tip Matt Belloni. It's a really good set of interviews and there were some great digressions as well. Apparently Charlie Rose has a man crush on Eddie Vedder (min 31) and Josh Brolin is a day trader (min 50). Charlie was about to hand over his checkbook when he heard how up Brolin is this year. Funny stuff. All in all though, good interviews and worth your time. I'm looking forward to seeing the movie.

Chillin'

Great picture from Fred Larson, who has been on a serious roll.

Born Standing Up

Great interview on Steve Martin from NPR's Fresh Air a couple weeks back. He's a really interesting guy. The podcast is entertaining and there are a few pearls of wisdom in there too.

I'm going to get his book, Born Standing Up. The excerpt published in the New Yorker was really cool. Here is an excerpt he read for the New Yorker.
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Saturday, November 29, 2008

A Real Cowboy

Enjoyed this article on Extreme Beers from the New Yorker. The guy who started Dogfish Brewery is a real cowboy. I loved the fact that Anchor Brewing (AnchorSteam), was the only "micro brewer" alive 20 years ago. They're based in SF, make incredible beer and have a really fun tour in the afternoons. We indulged in the tour quite a bit when we were at CAL.

Screens

Thought provoking essay by A.O. Scott on "how we view movies." This quote about Internet entertainment got my attention but the whole article is good.


At the same time, smaller-scale visual narratives have been flourishing on the Internet, delivering topical satire, political commentary and slices of real-life absurdity with a nimbleness and speed that makes both conventional film and traditional television seem unwieldy.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Friday Chill Music (November 28, 2008)

Some quickies on a nice Friday after Thanksgiving.

Yeasayer - from the ladies at I'm All Ears. I need to do some more investigating on these folks. I'll take reccomendations on them in the comments, please.

Band of Horses are threatening to crack my Top 5. I know they're in Becker's already. Our Swords was highlighted by I'm All Ears earlier in the week. Love it.

Little rock from Zeppelin. Great song. Reminds me of road trips while I worked at summer camp in college.

We'll finish with some old school Wilco on "When the Roses Bloom Again"

Interesante

Image representing Amazon as depicted in Crunc...Image by via CrunchBaseCouple interesting articles I came across this morning:

"We get what we promote." - Seth Godin

"If you don't have a willingness to be misunderstood for a long period of time, then you can't have a long-term orientation." - Jeff Bezos, Founder of Amazon, in a US News interview.

I couldn't agree more with both of them.
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Instapaper

Instapaper.pngImage by ric_w4u via FlickrAlex Bain introduced me to Instapaper a few weeks back and it's become something I can't live without. It's a service that allows you to save the webpage of an article, picture, song, etc that you either can't consume right at that moment, or you want to save for later.

Give it a whirl. Try it out. Take a chance. Whatever you call it, Instapaper is a great service.

P.S. While you're at it, start following the blog feed "Give Me Something to Read." It's a public Instapaper that features a lot of good reading material. Another Alex Bain rec, btw.
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Thursday, November 27, 2008

The Thanks I Give

A big thank you to everyone who reads this blog. Whether you're pointing out my grammar mistakes, calling b.s. on my thoughts, agreeing with me (my favorite :)) or just silently coming along for the ride, thanks for making this blog possible with your attention.

Writing this blog is one of my favorite parts of the day, but without your interest and comments I wouldn't be able to hack it.

Along with my thanks, I'd like to give you the gift of Fred Larson's picture to the right. Holy cow, is that a beautiful picture of the bridge or what. Finally, here is a great Wilco song to listen to sometime today. Now go eat some turkey.

Wilco - The Thanks I Get

Greg Mercer's Drawings


This is so cool. Mercer keeps churning out neat stuff on Field Access everyday. Now he's adding color.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Alcatraz

Alcatraz at night...(Mystical Photography)

Bernanke in the New Yorker

Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Board of Governo...Image via WikipediaOver thanksgiving, I'm going to keep posting, so if you have time to kill, check out Kenny K. I plan to do a ton of relaxing and reading, so hopefully I can unearth some good stuff.

First of is a great article from the New Yorker on Ben Bernanke, Fed Chairman. It highlights his mistakes and also the efforts he's been making to keep the finance world together. He really screwed the pooch for a long time with his loose money and belief that you should just let bubbles build, then try to clean up the mess. However, he has worked very hard over the last 3 months. We wouldn't be in the situation we are in now without him and his Greenspan, but at least he's trying to clean it up.

My only regret with the article, which is excellent, is that they didn't use his famous quote about fighting deflation by (paraphrasing) -"dropping dollar bills out of helicopters..." And you wonder why I own gold?
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Fun People

I work with some great people. This message was posted in the uni-sex bathroom the other day. It made me laugh (and yes, it was probably deserved).

We went on to discuss Urban Cougar Dens at lunch. Lot's of laughs.

If you don't like where you work, take a few minutes to reflect this Thanksgiving and figure out a way to get somewhere that you'll have fun and love your job. Maybe you should start your own thing?

Regardless of your path, it makes a huge difference to be on a journey with people you enjoy.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

via Hegarty

via Hegarty. He nailed it. The Santa Claus El Train is an example of why Chicago is such a great city. So much pride, effort and a sense of humor.

Monday, November 24, 2008

via Mark Lisanti & via Deplorable Beautiful

I love the concept of "Via" to stand for someone else's reccomendation. Plus, I love Wilco's Via Chicago (found here: wilco - via chicago).

Anyways, two quick recs today "Via" friends:

1) Mark Lisanti's blog and the story of the dangerous turkey frier. This guy makes me laugh with almost every post. This turkey video he embedded was strangely captivating. Click through for commentary.



2) Deplorable Beauty posted some great music videos. Wilco and Pearl jam are my top 2 bands and he/she posts two great videos plus a couple from the Shins and Sleater Kinney, two other bands I really like. Here's the Edde Vedder video. Ananda suggested I learn ukele the other day, and I think she's right.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

No Country for Old Men

Loved this editorial titled Rearranging the Lineup on Capital Hill in the San Francisco Chronicle today on the shuffling going on in political leadership. The path is being cleared for some of Obama's biggest initiatives. Good stuff.