NINTrent

Nine Inch Nails Covers

I love Nine Inch Nails. I don’t hide this fact. I remember listening to The Downward Spiral as my anthem of teenage angst and anger. I grew up in a tiny town (2,000 people) in a high school of 550. I felt like a freak and a weirdo. Nine Inch Nails was the music I lived on. I’ve had the privilege of seeing Trent Reznor perform live five times. This music is the soundtrack to my life and today I fell into a hole of cover songs so I thought I’d share a few of them with you. There are many, many more online but these all stood out to me.

Going to see Nine Inch Nails live is as close to a religious experience as I’ve felt. The crowd and the emotions and the music washing over me is one of the best feelings in the world. I always come home hoarse, sweaty and exhausted. But feeling so energized and amazing.

NIN Live, hands raised

Nine Inch Nails and David Bowie performing Hurt

This song gives me chills. Bowie and Reznor’s voice are amazing together.

Johnny Cash covering Hurt

The Best Cover Song Of All Time. Cash takes Reznor’s words and comes to them from a vulnerable place and gives the song a whole new, incredible meaning.

Sevendust covering Hurt

Hurt is an incredible song and it’s nice to see another version of it. This one by stripped down and live on stage.

Linkin Park covering Wish

Wish is a great, if not forgotten song. This is a fun, live cover.

Flyleaf covering Something I Can Never Have

I remember Reznor saying years ago he wanted to work with a female vocalist. It finally came to fruition with How To Destroy Angels. I love Reznor’s music with a female vocalist. This is a great cover of a beautiful song.

Corey Taylor covering Something I Can Never Have

The lead singer of Slipknot’s acoustic take on a haunting track was meant to be performed acoustically. Taylor has an amazing voice.

AFI covering Head Like A Hole

Early NIN sounds like electronic punk. AFI’s cover of this old NIN track fits perfectly.

Kawehi covering Closer

Closer is a song I don’t listen to much because it got so much play when it blew up in the 90s and I got tired of it. It became a party anthem for it’s “I want to fuck you like an animal.” But Kawehi’s cover is a rare and unique take on the track so I included it. The best part of Closer remains the piano at the end.

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Event Planning Rule 6 – Organize Yourself

Rule 6. Organize yourself.

Event organizer is a misleading name. It’s their event and they should have it together and be the expert on their own event. But, they often offload that work on to the person supporting them.

This means you have to be organized, whether the people you’re working for are or not. It’s your job to make everything work. It’s your job to assure success as much as possible. It doesn’t matter if you’re planned and scheduled if you don’t have the information you need.

If you write down the information but leave it behind, it can’t help you. If you need a specific link and don’t have it, it’s as good as never scheduling it.

A practice I adopted early on in event planning was coming up with a list of questions. My first reply when was this list. It gave me everything I need to know to be successful. Some of them were basic. What is this event? Where is it? What time? How many people are you anticipating attending in the room and online?

Are we recording this session? Do you need Closed Captioning? Will there be a sign language interpreter present? What about a photographer?

And others were just for me. Is this date and time firm? Do you have a slide deck? If not, when will it be available?

Asking questions finds weakness in plans. Once we find the weakness in the plans, we can plan around them and be successful.

Organizational Notes

Time

Rushing leads to disorganization which leads to forgetting which leads to failure. Always arrive early. The quiet time before an event starts is for you to prepare yourself and organize your space. Organization is about making time to be successful.

I was always the first person to an event. I had time to get my computer and camera setup. I verify the links I need and content (slides, videos, audio) were available and working. The extra time is for troubleshooting. Links break and computers crash. Time is the different between success and failure.

I open the slides and go through them all one last time. I open the video and play it straight through. I listen to the audio over the sound system in the room. I had already done all this before. But everyday is a new day and failure always possible.

Space

Setup what you need where you can get to it. I setup my notebook and post-it notes so I could see everything without flipping pages. I like using a notebook because it gave me space for new notes or updating what I thought I knew.

If I was in a conference room in front of a laptop, I kept it all on my lap but still had it open and available if I needed it.

Having the information does you no good if you can’t find it when you need it.

Hands making a heart in front of a sun from Unsplash.com - https://unsplash.com/mayurgala

Service Smiles: Beauty among the garbage

Service Smiles is an answer to the question What did I learn about Customer Service this week?


The Montgomery County Division of Solid Waste Services has an email list. They give updates to trash and recycling pickups.

Their notifications are clear and concise. It keeps me informed to any variations in the pickup schedule due to weather or other issues.

This is the most mundane of updates. There’s nothing sexy or exciting about trash and recycling pickups. Each new notice comes with a poem.


Alone, walking purposely uphill toward the bus stop,
Heavy grocery bags pulling your arms straight down.

So cold. Six degrees. They call it the Siberian Express.

I see you, and I gesture for you to climb into my back seat; I’ve replaced two regulators now, trying to roll down a frozen window.

“Where to?” “The bus stop.” “Where to, after that?” “The county road,” you say.

I make quick calculations of miles, of time, of traffic, of the dreaded round-about, And, against my cautious self, say I will take you home.

We travel together to get you there, and you tell me

You’re an unemployed social worker,
Your car is no longer useful,
You have health problems,
And you have grown children.

Now, in your 70’s, you live alone.
And they are doing well, so far away.

“No jobs around here, if you want to get ahead.”

Of me, you know nothing, except that I, too, am alone, With children doing well, so far away.

It seems enough.

—Patricia Simoni, “Timeshare”, recommended by subscriber DM


It’s nothing exciting. It’s not big and flashy and it won’t change minds or win hearts. But it made me smile.

The first few times I didn’t even read the email down far enough to see the poem. I saw it in the last one and went back and checked and there’s a poem in each message.

This mailing list is great customer service work. It fulfills its mission quickly. It says here is the current waste pickup schedule. And it adds some fun, ending with a poem.

This is great work and I salute whomever started this trend and hope they keep it up.

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Event Planning Rule 5 – Write Things Down

Rule 5. Write things down. (You think you can remember everything. Right up until you can’t.)

Every event has some details I need to remember. I started out thinking I would always know have them at hand. But the more events I ran and the busier I got, I was forgetting things. Every event is the sum of its parts.

The Parts

  • Event Date
  • Event Time
  • Local or Remote Event
  • If local, room number
  • Which account was hosting the event? (Of the four WebEx accounts I had)
  • Phone number for teleconference
  • Host Access Code
  • Participant Access Code
  • Closed Captioning link (optional)
  • Is the event being recorded?
  • Are we using a webcam?
  • Are we including remote video?
  • Is there a slide deck? (Do I have it?)
  • Is there any video or audio content? (Did we test it?)
  • Will there be a Question and Answer session?
  • How will remote participants ask questions?
  • Is anyone from senior leadership going to attend?
  • Is this event open to the public or agency-only?

I had to remember everything I needed to run the event successfully and answer questions the organizers would ask as we were starting. I also needed to work around any late changes or additions. Which included saying no to people who weren’t usually told no. (Which is a whole different topic in itself.)

Writing Is Remembering

I always carry a pocket notebook for any note-taking on the fly. But I also kept an event notebook with pages dedicated to the current events I plan. And yes, there was always more than one. Sometimes in the same day I’d have three or four to manage. From running the meeting to starting and handing it off, each event needed time and attention.

I also make good use of Post-It Notes. They were easy to keep phone numbers and codes on. I could jot down which camera angles I had preset to this particular event. I could write notes to people helping me. Those little sticky notes are a vital part of my work.

When I forgot something, the event suffered. If I needed a webcam and didn’t have it we’d have no live video. If we needed closed captioning for a transcript or reasonable accommodation and I didn’t book it, someone who needed it wouldn’t be able to enjoy the event.

Memory Fails

It’s easy to trick yourself into thinking you’ll remember anything. I won’t forget the phone number. I will remember to make the change you asked about as I was leaving my desk? Sure, I’ll take care of that edit to your slides and fix that typo?

But I won’t. I’ve forgotten to fix your typo on every version of the slides we used. I forgot you were going to have someone else speak mid-way through the event. I didn’t remember to book closed captioning despite you requesting it. Were we recording this event? The last thing I have in my notes was wrong. I’m sorry.

Memory is fallible. I write everything down I want to get right. And I want to get it all right. I want to get it right every time. I’ve talked about all the ways you can fail. I don’t want to be the source of failure.

Dinosaur headed man in a business shirt and tie via gratisography.com

Event Planning Rule 4 – Know your Trump Cards

Rule 4. Know your trump cards (who can push meeting or take scheduled space.)

Now that you are ready to fail let’s talk about one of the way you can get thrown for a loop. Scheduling issues and people who can push you out of a space.

While scheduling issues can affect anyone in any event. Knowing who can push you from a meeting space apply to larger organizations with a hierarchy.

Senior Leadership

For me, it was the Secretary of Labor. When his office schedule an event in a space, they could push anything already scheduled there. This happened to me a few times and we either had to scurry around to try to find a replacement space or postpone the event.

For others, it could be any of your Senior Leadership team. Always be aware you could get bumped from your space the day of the event.

It may not always be a person who bumps you from your space. There could be another higher-profile event happening that could take your space. Or another smaller event could grow with more interest than anticipated.

Scheduling Issues

No matter how carefully event space is juggled there are always mistakes. A room can be double-booked. A booking can get lost or an event can get bumped.

Of all the things that can go wrong, the loss of a space is almost always a deal killer. If the event has no remote participants it’s easier, but if there’s a reliance on technology and remote participants, a venue change is almost always a death-blow.

I say almost because every event is different. What cancels one event may move another back an hour. What one event needs to succeed my not matter to another.

Auditorium Roulette

I’ve run a couple of events that have gotten pushed at the last second. One was scheduled for the Auditorium and we had tested and worked out all the kinks.

As I was leaving my desk to set up for the event and do one last test, I got a phone call putting our weeks of work to an end. The Secretary of Labor needed the space for another event. So our event was cancelled and there was no rescheduling it because the person booked to speak wasn’t available again any time soon.

That was a heart-breaker because we had put a lot of work into it. All the planning meetings, testing in the Auditorium and working out the video and audio components in addition to the presenter’s slide deck. We had it all working beautifully but we never got to use any of it.

All the World is a Stage

I treat each event I put on like a stage show. We have the players and we have the set and venue. There’s an audience to please with our performance. When an event gets cancelled it feels like our rehearsals are for a show that never goes on. It’s disappointing. Even if the event is an All-Hands Meeting or a State of the Union meeting.

Knowing who can push you out of a space is just another thing to plan around. It’s another point of failure for a meeting. You can do your best but it may still happen and when it does, be ready to think on your feet because there may be a way to save the event, or it may be cancelled.