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Friday, July 29, 2005

Going Mobile . . . Once Again

I'll be in Houston visiting my parents this weekend. I have various things to attend to, but I hope to see this exhibit at the Houston Museum of Natural Science. I saw their Star Wars exhibit back in 2001 and was blown away. I hope for the same experience.

For non-Texas folk, Houston is probably not the greatest place to visit this time of year because of its heat and humidity. Interestingly, I never really noticed how bad the heat was when I lived there. I endured three years of summer marching band practices out in the heat with very little problems. Sure, we practiced in the morning, but it was still hot.

Now that I'm out of school and won't be visiting a band practice field any time soon, I don't complain about the heat. Instead of complaining about it, I choose to work with it. I rarely go outside for a long time during the day and take walks after 8:30pm during the week. We play kickball at 7pm on Sundays right as the sun is going down. The AC works and if it stops working, I'll get a fan.

Shall be a good time this weekend.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Don't Turn Away

Whenever people ask me, "Who's your favorite band?," I can't say there is only one. There are several bands/artists that I have really enjoy over the years (like Ben Folds Five, Wilco, Led Zeppelin, Metallica) but definitely one of my favorites is face to face (the pop-punk band, not to be confused with the '80s Boston band, Face to Face).

Yes, face to face was mixed in with a ton of pop-punk bands in the 1990s, but they were a cut above. They weren't about toilet humor or playing obnoxiously fast; they were inspiring back in the day and they're still inspiring today.

Vocalist/lyricist Trever Keith's voice is big and open; not snotty, childish or grating on eardrums. Plus, what's coming out of his mouth can be understandable today or six months or ten years.

Keith's lyrics are often general, non-specific and full of phrases to live by. Lyrics like, "There is someone who knows everything there is to know/There is someone who is too afraid to let it show/We live by consequences/We never seem to get it right/Conflict of circumstances/and sometimes we may lose a fight" mean a lot to me. I don't know if there will be a time when I won't be able to relate to these kinds of lyrics.

Then there's the music: their debut, Don't Turn Away, is essential to understand this band. With the exception of Ignorance is Bliss, their subsequent albums continued in the vein of Don't Turn Away. In all, I don't think they ever made a bad album, even the often-maligned, Ignorance is Bliss.

Ignorance is Bliss followed down a different path with darker moods and lyrics, but I think it still really stands up. The band went out on a major limb with that record, but they had to do it in order to stay together. They put out two solid albums, Reactionary and How to Ruin Everything, following this, but the band was losing steam. They called it quits in 2003.

I saw face to face play live three times: at the Abyss in 1997 with MxPx, at Liberty Lunch in 1999 with No Motiv and at Deep Ellum Live in 2000 (my review is here). They were three rather different shows with three different line-ups. I would say the best performance was at the Abyss: they just kept playing great song one after another. I got to meet the band members following the Liberty Lunch show and was in heaven. I thought they were awesome and very cordial guys. The sincerity behind the music and the lyrics was proven true and I've never forgotten that about them.

Even though I don't listen to pop-punk as much as I used to back in the day, face to face still sticks out in my mind as far as influences on my life and my writing. Maybe this makes them my favorite band, but they weren't the only band.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Body of Song

I've only listened to Body of Song a few times, but I think I need to say something: it's great.

Yes, the songs have a lot of electronica elements, but they also rock with live guitars and drums. I would say the album's pearl is Mould's voice. I don't think I've heard as much color in his voice in a long time. I don't know if it's because of the vocal effects he put on it, but he sings his head off with a variety of melodies.

This is a different-sounding Mould but not a complete makeover. You definitely hear a lot of nods to his work with Sugar on Body of Song, but this isn't rehasing past glories. Mixing the energy of his power pop rock with keyboards and electronica is a welcome change.

After my few spins, some of the strongest tracks are "Paralyzed," "Underneath Days" and "(Shine Your) Light Love Hope." I look forward to more spins.

-One other Mould-related deal: Pop Matters has a great interview with the man here. I find his thoughts on file-sharing and blogging very cool.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Do the Vampire

Superdrag was one of those great bands that made a handful of great albums regardless of production value. Granted, their The Fabulous 8-Track Sound of Superdrag EP suffers from muddy sound quality and less-than-sublime songwriting, but things got much better after that.

Regretfully Your's is a solid collection of tunes, including their MTV Buzz Bin hit, "Sucked Out." Recalling Cheap Trick and My Bloody Valentine in spots, Superdrag was honing in on some great adrenalized jangle-pop.

Probably thanks to the financial success of Regretfully Your's, Head Trip in Every Key had more production dollars behind it. In return, the album is big, warm and rocks even harder. Showcasing one of the best "roomy" drum sounds I've heard on record (along with Jimmy Eat World's Clarity), Head Trip is another collection of great tracks.

For whatever reasons, Head Trip in Every Key didn't sell like hotcakes, thus delaying the release of Superdrag's third record, In the Valley of Dying Stars. Released in 2000 on the smaller, Arena Rock Recording Co. label, In the Valley is less polished and more fuzzy, but still really cooks.

What may end up being their final bow, Last Call for Vitriol is a really lo-fi record (for Superdrag standards), but once again, the songs are great. I've never been a fan of Don Coffey's drums sounding like they're in a closet on this record, but there is a lot more to marvel with this record. Songs like "Baby Goes to 11," "The Staggering Genius" and "Remain Yer Strange" are some highlights.

I don't know if the band is on permanent hiatus or not, but frontman John Davis recently released a solo record, while Superdrag's members are busy with other projects. There has been talk of a Superdrag b-sides record for a few years, but I don't think anything has materialized.

This post may be preaching to the choir with Superdrag fans, but after listening to my old mix CD made up of songs from Superdrag's first three albums prompted me to write a little reminder.

Monday, July 25, 2005

All You Need is a Ride?

I don't know if it is out of pure minimalism or pure laziness, but I see more and more rock drummers using only one cymbal (in addition to hi-hats) on their kits. Usually, it's just a ride cymbal. To my fellow drummers, I think this is too minimal.

Some explanation for non-drummers: drumsets are usually outfitted with a 16"-18" cymbal (called a "crash") that have a rather high pitch when hit. A ride cymbal, usually 20"-24" in diameter, has a deeper, penetrating pitch when struck.

For a band like the Flaming Lips, whose material is rich in melodies and orchestration, the drums work best when they are minimally set up. Drummer Steven Drozd pounds his drums and his ride with big, simple beats, thus allowing the guitars, pianos, strings and everything else some room to breathe.

But what about all those bands that don't have that many colors in their sound? This is where I throw a flag. I often see this approach in a lot of these newer, garage-y bands. Sure, it's cool to see a band rocking out in that vein, but seeing a drummer confined to one deep, crashing sound is frustrating.

You need color in your sound and that includes the drums. I'm not saying that I long for the days of kits with ten crashes, four hi-hats, three chinas, two rides and a gong. Just a couple of crashes, in addition to a ride, works in a variety of ways with a variety of music.

Friday, July 22, 2005

I Heart Huckabees

It's been one week since I watched I Heart Huckabees, but it's still fresh in my mind. Dubbed "an existential comedy," I think that tagline fits the bill very well.

Calling the film's tone as "quirky" and "offbeat" is too simple. Funny is funny, even if it's off the beaten path of what's traditionally funny. Like the title of the book my mother uses for her philosophy class, the unbearable heaviness of philosophy is made lighter in this film. The nature of philosophy is not knocked. Rather, it's understandable.

I've tried reading philosophy books, but my mind derails off the tracks when I try to remember names and philosophies connected to those names. This may be the case because my mind was conditioned in college to remember the name over the meaning.

Thankfully, I Heart Huckabees doesn't throw out a bunch of names and their philosophies. General ideas and concepts are thrown out in simple ways. The acting by all of the main characters is energetic, humorous and fresh. Combined with Jon Brion's score and David O. Russell's directing style, I found myself grinning the whole time.

This is definitely not your standard megaplex/popcorn movie, but I Heart Huckabees comes highly recommended from me. I just hope somebody doesn't remake it in 15 years and adds fart jokes to appeal to a supposedly bigger audience.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

The Half-Blood Prince

I can't believe it, but I finished all 652 pages of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince in five days. I'm in the middle of reading other books (Let it Blurt, Live from New York, Complicated Shadows, Please Kill Me), but those had to be put on hold. The book is so good: it's evenly paced and there are no major slow-downs. Story-wise, like all the other books, more answers are revealed as more questions pop up.

Of course, there are enough clues and hints about where the next book is heading, but there is so much that is up in the air. Rowling has not said anything about when the next book will come out, but if it came out today, I would drop everything and read it.

What amazes me is the amount of time that it takes for people to finish reading these books. In the case of Half-Blood Prince, a friend of mine finished it 11 hours. Another friend of mine finished The Sorcerer's Stone in one night. For me, it took me weeks to finish the other books. Since I usually reserve reading books for when I'm about to go to sleep (reading makes me sleepy regardless of how interested I am in the subject or story) and have to visualize everything I read in my head, reading takes a long time for me.

I wonder how long it will take for people to read Post. Hopefully longer than one night.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Walking in Rhythm . . . With a Cell Phone?

In the last few years, I've seen people talking on cell phones while they are on walks. (When I mean "walks," I mean as a form of exercise by walking for at least 20 minutes straight.) I don't know about you, but the reason why I take walks is to clear my head. My brain needs a breather from things, including talking on a phone. I do not dislike talking on a phone, but being away from one for 20-30 minutes a day is nice. So I don't understand why people take their cell phones on walks. Sure, cell phones can be taken almost anywhere but call me old fashioned, I doubt that I'd ever take a cell phone with me on a walk.

Now here's a curveball: while walking/harboring-the-delusion-I-can-jog on Saturday, what do I see? A jogger with a cell phone and an earpiece in his ear. At first I thought he had an MP3 player but upon closer inspection, I saw what it really was. I don't get it; what if somebody called him? I doubt he could really combine words into coherent sentences with his heavy breathing and the sweat running down his face.

Don't we exercise to alleviate stress? Why would we want to bring something to it that could induce stress? I'm not saying that talking on the phone is always a stressful thing, but it can be. Have we become so dependant on cell phones that we can't go at least 30 minutes without one?

I just don't get it.

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Breaking the Foghat Rule

As mentioned in Yo La Tengo's video for "Sugarcube" (where students learn how to be rock stars), there is a rule called The Foghat Rule: Your fourth album shall be double-live. Even though Foghat's fourth album was not a double-live album (I think that was their sixth release), the rule is a good rule to follow (as my tongue is firmly in my cheek).

Well, according to Rolling Stone, Maroon 5 will release a live album this September. The number of releases from the band made up of former members of Kara's Flowers? One proper album along with some singles and an all-acoustic EP. Here's my question: Why release a live album now?

This reminds me of when Usher released a live album following his first major album, My Way. In other words, you get all the songs you know by heart played live along with some covers or a new song. I don't know about you, but I'd feel ripped off.

I can understand if a jazz artist released a live album after one proper album if the songs were completely rearranged live. However, with slick pop, R&B and rock acts playing their songs note-for-slick-note live, what's the real difference between studio and live?

Live albums themselves are lacking something: the visual experience. Taking the visual experience away takes the fun out of it. I'm all for live concert videos and DVDs because you get it all and you don't have to worry about having a crappy view.

I don't know if Maroon 5's or Usher's live albums hold high in the hearts of their fans, but I wonder more about how much can you milk from one hit album.

Monday, July 18, 2005

His goal in life was to be an echo

Some bits and pieces as I'm trying to keep my head on straight

-Thanks to Tom, Chris and Tony for having me on the Good Show last night. Always a fun time with those guys and always a good time to be back at the station where I got my start. I think I got my points across about what my book is and is not. I hope people enjoyed hearing some Fugazi and Cap'n Jazz on the radio.

-I'm nearing the 200-page mark in Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. I'm hooked - I can't stop reading it. I'm a relatively slow reader, but when I really get into something, I have a hard time putting it down.

-I watched I Heart Huckabees last week. Absolutely fantastic film. It's hilarious while being incredibly weighty with philosophy. Good stuff. A full review is forthcoming.

Friday, July 15, 2005

On the Radio

If everything works out (barring car troubles and weather), I'll be on the Good Show this Sunday night (the 17th) to talk about my book's progress. I'll be on some time between 9pm and 11pm, but I don't have specifics. You can listen to KTCU live with this link. If you can't listen live, I believe the Good Show now posts podcasts of their shows.

Here is a book update:
I'm still working on the Get Up Kids chapter. Thanks to Nathan Ellis (Coalesce/Casket Lottery) for some great perspective on the Kansas/Missouri scene in the mid-to-late-90s. Still haven't interviewed the Pope brothers though. I don't know which chapter I'll tackle next. Maybe the Sunny Day Real Estate chapter or the Jimmy Eat World chapter.

So, here is a detailed chapter breakdown (bold=complete in rough draft form):

A Starting Point (aka, introductory chapter)
Dischord Records, Washington DC
Jawbox, Washington DC
Jawbreaker, San Francisco, CA
Sunny Day Real Estate, Seattle, WA
Braid, Champaign, IL
The Promise Ring, Milwaukee, WI
Hot Water Music, Gainesville, FL
The Get Up Kids, Kansas City, MO
At the Drive-In, El Paso, TX
Jimmy Eat World, Mesa, AZ
Pause (aka, epilogue chapter)

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Christopher Lee Appreciation

Scanning the TV dial a few weeks ago, I came across the final Police Academy sequel (Mission to Moscow) and who happened to be in it? Christopher Lee.

Lee has been in a variety of films, but prior to his roles in Sleepy Hollow, the Lord of the Rings trilogy and the Star Wars prequels, he was best known for cheesy horror flicks and other forgettable stuff (The Stupids, Police Academy: Mission to Moscow, to name a few).

Who knows if it weren't for him playing Count Dooku in Star Wars or Saruman in Lord of the Rings people would remember him as one of the many Draculas, The Man with the Golden Gun or maybe Lord Summerisle. I don't know if you can credit his agent or what, but talk about how it's never too late in one's career.

If you want to talk about some massive career peaks and valleys, check out Lee's story. Speaking of a former co-star of Lee's, I wonder if this guy needs a new agent . . .

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

Student Bodies

My review of Student Bodies is now up on Doomed Moviethon. Being one of my favorite movies of all time, writing a review for it was a joy. I've seen the movie several times over the years and I think it's still fresh. Given its relative obscurity, how I even knew about this movie is interesting.

I don't remember how Matt knew about Student Bodies (I think he saw it on cable) but we watched it at one of the many "screenings" at his house (which also included Kentucky Fried Movie and Midnight Madness). Already a fan of Halloween and its knock-offs, I laughed so hard that it hurt.

The humor is so deadpan and matter-of-fact that you have to pay attention to what's being said. If you only focus on the acting, you'd think it was an after-school special. However, by the time you see the murder weapon of choice for the first offing (a paperclip instead of rope, poison, a knife or a gun), you know this is some really funny stuff.

The only crime is that the film is hard to find. At last check, it's only available on VHS and I have not heard any word about a DVD release. If you come across it anywhere, pick it up.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Jandek on Corwood

Until last night, I had never watched a music documentary that creeped me out. Well, I watched Jandek on Corwood last night and I'm still creeped out.

When I say "creeped out," I mean like how The Blair Witch Project, The Exorcist and Don't Look Now creeped me out. In other words, what you don't see or what you don't know is the scariest part.

Here's the deal about Jandek on Corwood: it traces the legacy of a man only known as Jandek and his music. Based out of Houston, Jandek has made 20+ albums since 1978, has only performed live a few times and has given only a few interviews. Since his music consists mostly his ghostly voice and an out of tune guitar, the lack of concrete information only bolsters the myth. People don't know what his real name is or where he really lives. This is where it gets really strange.

All of the people interviewed for the film are Jandek fans and they analyze/speculate who Jandek really is. Some speculate that he is a sociopath based on his anti-image, his lyrics and the few published pictures of him. Some say otherwise: they just want to enjoy the music and leave the man alone.

What really messes with your head is the final piece in the film: a snippet of a taped interview with Jandek from 1985. The voice you hear is well-spoken and very conversational. The only stuff he is mum about is personal information.

Whether or not the film fabricates the truth, I was affected.

If you want more info, check out something I found on Google: A Guide to Jandek

Monday, July 11, 2005

The Shape of Punk to Come

Even though each book chapter is named for one band/label, I don't exclude other bands/labels/etc. that I feel are pertinent. In the case of the Promise Ring chapter, Cap'n Jazz and Jade Tree are given extensive coverage. In the case of the Get Up Kids chapter, I mention Weezer, Dashboard Confessional, Napster and Vagrant Records. Sounds a little far-flung, but it will make sense.

A topic that I feel is necessary to talk about/pay homage to is a piece that ran in Alternative Press back in 1998. Dubbed, "Hardcore's Evolution," there was considerable coverage to all sorts of bands considered "hardcore." From Agnostic Front to Converge to Four Hundred Years to Cap'n Jazz, all sorts of bands are mentioned. Since the Get Up Kids get a nice mention with their split 7" with Coalesce, I feel I should elaborate on AP's piece in my book.

The late-90s saw lots of great hardcore come out (like Snapcase, Dillinger Escape Plan and others), but the one that I think should get top-billing is Refused's The Shape of Punk to Come.

Refused's final album still holds up incredibly well today. Taking aspects of politically-bent punk, pummelling hardcore, math-rock, traditional jazz and electronica into a cohesive work, The Shape of Punk to Come still scorches. Too many hardcore bands stay in the rut of screaming vocals, detuned guitars and angular rhythms, but Refused successfully stepped out of those boundaries.

I appreciate this kind of stuff when it's done very well (like Dillinger Escape Plan and Converge), but I don't listen to this stuff all the time. Listening to The Shape of Punk to Come again reminds me of how awesome Refused was. I look forward to this long in-the-works documentary that may finally come out in September. Hopefully people will understand me bringing up a band like Refused in a chapter devoted to one of the poppiest post-hardcore bands of the late-'90s.

Friday, July 08, 2005

The Trouble with Remakes

I blogged last week about why I rarely go out to the movies these days. Here is a big reason that I forgot to list: the windfall of remakes.

I can understand remaking a foreign language film into an American film (like Abre Los Ojos as Vanilla Sky). However, remaking an older American movie that is easy to find on TV or on DVD doesn't draw me to the box office.

The excuse of "modernizing" movies makes me wonder, do we really need a modernized version of a timeless film? Great films last over the years because they have timeless themes. Films like Psycho and The Wizard of Oz still hold up in their original form while their remakes are barely remembered.

When I hear the term, "modern," I associate it with being in the now. The problem is, what a lot of people perceive as "the now" is always changing. Committing something to film that is cool, hip or ironic for the time being dooms its shelf life. What's that classic line from Perfect? John Travolta says something to effect of "Health clubs - they're the singles bars of the Eighties!"

Great films last regardless of their special effects or fashions. Great films last because they engage the viewer in a deep and timeless way. You can talk about how cool the CGI effects are in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, but the reason why you keep watching it is because it is a timeless story of good vs. evil.

I keep hearing the excuse that teenagers/young adults are too busy with video games. Well, video game systems have been household items since the 1980s and they have held the attention of teenagers/young adults ever since. Nintendo was a household item when Tim Burton's Batman came out in 1989 and lots of younger people came out in droves to see that movie.

All I can say is this Hollywood, stop giving us lame rehashes of something that still holds up. I don't want excuses for crappy remakes. If you do remake something, add something fresh that's relevant in the long term. After seeing the trailer for this upcoming remake, you can guarantee that I'll see it in a theater in December. Why? Because I'm compelled to see it, not for the actors or the CGI, but for the engaging characters and story.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

The Fearless Freaks

For the longest time, I thought the Flaming Lips were a goofy little band with noisy rock songs. It wasn't until I saw them in concert on the Soft Bulletin tour that I understood that they weren't just some goofy little band with noisy songs.

Lyrics like "And if God hears all my questions/well how come there's never an answer?" and "Love is the greatest thing our hearts can know/but the hole that it leaves in its absence can make you feel so low" really struck me. In a time when random bits of words and ideas were pieced together and presented as deep poetry, this was deeper to me.

Prior to the Lips taking stage for their Soft Bulletin show, there was a 15-minute montage of footage from a forthcoming documentary called The Fearless Freaks. There was no word as to when the full documentary would be released, but whenever it did, I had to see it.

Well, The Fearless Freaks was released on DVD earlier this year and I placed it on my Netflix queue. After months of its availability being listed as "Long Wait" (which is rare for Netflix), I just went to Frys over the weekend and bought it.

After seeing the whole documentary, I highly recommend it for casual and hardcore Lips fans. The overall tone is rather light-hearted but serious. Contrary to other things I've read about it, The Fearless Freaks is not a congratulatory love-fest. It's a very honest and demystifying look, but it's a whole lot of fun. Wayne Coyne proves to be an engaging storyteller while his bandmates, friends and family add plenty of worthwhile stuff.

In every review I've read, there is a mention of the scene where Steven Drozd takes heroin. While I could only watch half of the scene without getting quesy, I have to be honest: I'm glad this scene is in the film. Instead of glamourizing drug use, Drozd speaks honestly about being an addict. He mentions the somewhat good feeling he gets when he's high but he also mentions all sorts of terrible things that have happened to him because of it. Seeing someone be so honest about drugs was such a nice alternate to the usual hindsight-filled/black and white look back at the days of "sex, drugs and rock and roll." (On a nice note, the film also covers Drozd getting clean and turning his life around)

Anyway, this documentary serves as a primer for Jim DeRogatis's forthcoming biography on the band, Staring at Sound, which should be in stores in February 2006. Very much worth your time if you want to know more about these guys.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

Set Yourself on Fire

"When there's nothing left to burn, you have to set yourself on fire"

So begins Stars' Set Yourself on Fire, but don't think this is some death metal band doomed for mockery on Monsters of MySpace.

I heard about Set Yourself on Fire through a few positive reviews, but once I saw the video for "Reunion" (thanks to Frank over at Chrome Waves for listing it), I felt compelled to buy the record.

Well, if you like what you hear with "Reunion," pick up Set Yourself on Fire. The other tracks are not carbon copies of "Reunion," but if you like the vibe of this song, you'll probably love the rest of the album.
An understandable comparison would be to the Arcade Fire, but Stars does not sound like a watered-down version of them. I only make the comparison because their approach is similar. Their songs are complex in structure, but they grab you immediately. There are plenty of hooks with pianos, clean guitars, horns and strings that only make the songs better. The songs go places: some tracks have extended outros, but they don't spiral out of control.


While the Arcade Fire's Funeral is more of a somber affair, Stars' Set Yourself on Fire is more upbeat. The songs flow well together, even though each one is vastly different from the other.

I don't want to make wild comparisons here, but definitely do check out Set Yourself on Fire if like this kind of stuff.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Paradise

In addition to kickball, writing and grocery shopping, I took a listen to Paint it Black's Paradise. After listening to it a few times, I kept saying this: Wow. I keep saying this as I listened to it again this morning.

I'm still a big Lifetime fan (comprehensive band history here) and really enjoyed Kid Dynamite (who featured Dan Yemin and Dave Wagenschutz from Lifetime) back in their day. Ever since Kid Dynamite essentially split off to None More Black and Paint it Black (even though Dave Wagenschutz is now in both bands), I've enjoyed None More Black more than Paint it Black. Simply, I felt that None More Black rocked more.

When I first heard Paint it Black's debut, CVA, I thought it sounded like Kid Dynamite Part II with Yemin on lead vocals. I wasn't impressed so that's why I gravitated towards None More Black.

Well, after reading an interview with Yemin about how he put a lot of his musical influences (from rap to rock to hardcore) into Paint it Black's Paradise, I was curious. Turns out, Paradise is full of fast hardcore (most songs are about 1:30 long) but there are a lot of melodic breaks that are more in the vein of post-hardcore than in the vein of brutal hardcore. Not something that will make hardcore non-believers into believers, but Paradise is a great album.

On a side note, Yemin has a Ph.D. in psychology and he has his own private practice. I wonder what sessions with him are like. I wonder if he has any old Lifetime or Kid Dynamite posters in his office. Hmmm . . .

Monday, July 04, 2005

Hey baby, it's the Fourth of July

No plans for today other than doing some writing, grocery shopping and kickball. Here's a little numbers rundown of my holiday weekend:

2 - number of hours I watched of the Live 8 "highlight" special on ABC. The highlight for me was Pink Floyd (with Roger Waters in tow) doing "Money." Isn't "Money" a cynical song about personal greed?

2 - number of bands I saw play live last night. The Happy Bullets and The Tah Dahs played together at the Meridian Room. The Meridian Room doesn't usually have bands because they don't really have the space for bands to play. How all six Happy Bullets with their guitars, keyboard and bells were able to fit into the corner by the kitchen was interesting. The sound was great and both bands were really on.

1 - number of DVDs I bought this weekend. After waiting and waiting for it to come available on my Netflix queue, I broke down and bought the Flaming Lips documentary, The Fearless Freaks. A full review is forthcoming.

1 - number of CDs I bought this weekend. Due to the fact that I couldn't get Stars' "Reunion" out of my head, I went out and bought their album, Set Yourself on Fire. A full review is forthcoming.

21 - number of pages my Get Up Kids chapter is in Word. This will probably be my longest chapter, but there is a lot of stuff that I feel is worth bringing up that is related to the Get Up Kids (Napster, Vagrant, Weezer, Dashboard Confessional). And to think, I haven't interviewed Rob and Ryan Pope just yet. By the end of it, this chapter may be 30 pages.

1 - number of copies of Punk Planet #68 at my local Barnes and Noble. As long as Punk Planet is available in the most O.C.-like areas of town, I will continue to have a grin on my face.

2 - number of times I skimmed through Chuck Klosterman's new book, Killing Yourself to Live. It's about him visiting some of the rock's most popular graves. Sounds like a warped concept, but Klosterman definitely brings the goods on this one. I didn't buy it because I know it will be in paperback (and probably with more stuff in that edition) eventually.

4 - number of pages I read of Nothing Feels Good before I had to close it and get back to work on my book. Some of this book I agree with, but I disagree with a lot of it. Whenever I get to a part that makes me mad, I open Word on my computer.

2 - number of movies from the 1970s I watched. Don't Look Now and The French Connection were really good. I had never seen either film before.

2 - number of full days off in a row. Still don't know what I'll do today before my evening's activities.

Friday, July 01, 2005

DVD vs. Theater Redux

I've posted my feelings about this before, but after reading/seeing story after story that talks about the current box office "slump," I feel I should chime in again.

Here are my reasons as to why I rent DVDs from Netflix/buy DVDs of movies I love more than I go out to a movie theater.

1. The price of admission
$8.25 to see one movie? The average price of a DVD is between $14-$25. Seeing a movie twice in a theater covers the price of owning it once on DVD.

2. DVDs have extra things that you want
While the extras listed may be a fraud from time to time (fluffy director talk, EPK puff-pieces, deleted scenes that add nothing interesting), a lot of commentary tracks, deleted scenes and behind-the-scenes documentaries add more to the experience of the movie itself. Seeing 25 minutes of commercials and movie trailers for things you don't care about aren't worth your time.

3. You aren't distracted by annoying audience members
I'd rather deal with my dog occasionally barking at random noises than deal with babies crying, cell phones ringing (and the people that answer them) and people that won't shut during the movie.

4. If you have to go to the bathroom, you don't have to miss anything
Just press 'pause' and go. In a theater, you can't do that. Good luck with trying to find your seat when you get back.

The reasons why I still see certain movies in a theater:

1. Seeing things on a big screen is cool
You see a lot of things in a larger-than-life kind of way. Things are still smaller in home entertainment, even with a big screen TV.

2. Immediacy of seeing a brand new film
When you see it in the theater, the movie is brand-spanking new. When you see a movie on its opening weekend, not everybody you know has seen it and has an opinion on it.

3. Sound quality is top-notch
You feel those spaceships fly past you, those bullets fly, the music, etc. At home, it's not as intense.

So there you go. There are plenty of good reasons for and against, but with all the paranoia I have with being in the company of strangers, I stay close to home.