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Showing posts from February, 2008

Four Years in One Gulp

Since March 1st this year falls on a weekend (when I normally don't blog), I figured I'd share some thoughts and reflections about the four years it's taken to finish Post . I'm currently on page 137 out of 212 on the "read-aloud" final edit. Once that's done, it's off to the printer . . . Why did it take four years? I have plenty of reasons. First of all, when I started writing, I really had to learn how to write from scratch. Sure, I had written quite a few research papers, critiques and scripts for school, but they don't technically count. I had to find a voice and a writing style that I was comfortable with. Run-on sentences may be easy to write, but they're really hard to read over and over again. Secondly, after doing a few interviews and getting in contact with more people, I wanted to interview as many people as possible. Since a certain book I loathe seemed to skimp on getting much from the band members themselves, I wanted to take my

The Massacre Went Well

Still thinking about Brian Lowry's article in Variety about the prevalent mob mentality on the Internet, I've come up with something that has slowly helped me understand the nasty, negative vibes. I figured I'd share it here on the Internet, but I think it's better used in person. Make no mistake, no matter how much I say that negative, anonymous comments don't really carry much editorial weight, they can sting. As someone who stands by the Bruce Campbell attitude about people who send him nice compliments in e-mail form (Someone actually took time out of his or hers day to write and send me this? Cool!), I also am struck by the negative version as well (Someone actually took time out of his or hers day to write and send me this? Whoah, this kinda sucks.). My solution (aka, the solution that's been working for me) is this: imagine if such an ugly exchange of words were to really happen in person. Would it really be that negative? Chances are it wouldn't be

Better Days Will Haunt You

I think I can add this to the interesting trivia file drawer in my head. Like remembering that Nada Surf's Matthew Caws wrote for Guitar World back before "Popular" broke and Dillinger Escape Plan's Gil Sharone was a guest star on Full House , now comes more interesting info on the one and and only Chavez . I had known for quite some time that guitarist Clay Tarver co-wrote the script for the Paul Walker/Steve Zahn film Joy Ride , but I didn't know much about the band, other than how Ride the Fader is awesome. Perusing through some of the comments in Noel's Popless feature , I came across one talking about bassist Scott Marshall. Turns out, he directed Blonde Ambition , the recent Jessica Simpson/Luke Wilson movie that played in a few theaters in Texas. He has a rather extensive list of credits in film and TV as an actor and director and is the nephew of Penny Marshall. Whether or not his film work is really the hold-up on the band fully reuniting, I don

When I was an alien, cultures weren't opinions

From a distance, the synopsis of About a Son sounds like a documentary made up of spare parts. Featuring audio taken from Michael Azerrad's interviews with Kurt Cobain for Come As You Are: The Story of Nirvana , there are no live performances from Nirvana, on-camera interviews or any Nirvana songs in it. But instead of thinking this is like that joke in Student Bodies where Lamab High had to put on a non-musical version of Grease because they couldn't get the rights to the songs, About a Son 's strengths are elsewhere. What you don't typically see in a documentary about somebody makes for a way more powerful experience, at least in my mind. I'll admit I had some reservations about seeing this film, so let me clear them out of the way. First of all, despite most of the interviews taking place during overnight hours, the conversations are lively and Kurt is very well-spoken. Secondly, the quotes' subject matter do not turn bleak until the very end. For the most

Spoilers ahead

Unless I really want to be in the dark about some movie or TV show, I usually read spoilers online. I know reading about twists, shocks and game-changers beforehand only reveals plot points. The drama, human emotion, the music, et al. -- the heart of it all, in my opinion -- gets left out of the description. If anything, a great TV show or movie can stand on its own even knowing the spoilers ahead of time. This all struck me after watching this season of LOST . My reasoning for reading LOST plot outlines is simple: due to the show starting fifteen minutes before I am home on most Thursday nights, I don't want to be in the dark when I turn the TV on. I figure it wouldn't be such a big deal if I were to find out that Kate's taking care of Aaron or Sayid's working for Ben in the future. When I saw the episodes themselves, I was really moved by the unspoken emotions found in scenes like the one with Kate and her dying mother and Sayid being fixed up by Ben. That's the


Major kudos to Todd for posting this link: 20 Things I Wish I Had Known When Starting Out in Life. For fun, I figured I'd repost the twenty entries and add my perspective in response. 1. How to control impulse spending. Luckily, my impulse spending never went beyond CDs and DVDs when I was in college. Now with Netflix and MP3s, my impulse buying is down to almost nothing. I can't say impulse buying is completely gone: when I saw a new copy of Steve Martin's Born Standing Up at Borders, it was 40 percent off. Yeah, I had to buy it then and there knowing what I know about retail . . . 2. You gotta stay active. Oh yes. When I was in marching band in high school, the exercise routine consisted solely of rehearsals in the heat. Out of marching band once I entered college, the weight slowly gained and didn't really see the need to exercise. Now I run/walk three miles about four or five days a week. And I enjoy it. 3. How to plan finances. My attitude: keep the overhead low

That Guy

This past Saturday night, I was "that guy" at a show. And I don't feel bad about it. Previously "that guy" when I saw the Promise Ring in '98 and Hey Mercedes in '03, the personality stills comes out from time to time -- and with good reason. So, what am I talking about? I would define the behavior as a devoted fan of a band who stands right at the front of the audience, sings passionately along, moves various body parts to the beat and seems to lose his mind while the band plays. It's like the person is engulfed with spirit and does not hold back. With the return of Chomsky last weekend, I did not hold back in sharing my fandom. I do have some ground rules though, based on previous concert experiences around other "that guy"s. 1) Do not push anyone around you. 2) Do not act like drunken hooligan. 3) Understand that you might get picked on for acting this way (but if you've been picked on your whole life, it's nothing new). 4) If y

south american sea lion fidget maurice chevalier

For nearly two years, I wondered who in the world was Maurice Chevalier . I had seen the Marx Bros. attempt to be him so they could get on a boat in Monkey Business , but I had no idea how to spell "Chevalier." There was something funny with the sound of his name: it sounded perfect for a crooner from the Twenties/Thirties. Sappy songs, clean-cut image, the whole nine yards. I constantly quoted Chico's line from that scene ("I am Mooooreese Shavaaaaaalee-ayyyy!") and even called a fellow Marx Bros. fan that name. Well, as easy as it could have been to look up the Monkey Business page on Wikipedia, I didn't. Maybe I did once, but didn't see the name listed on there. I don't know. Anyway, I wondered if I'd ever get an answer. Luckily, my answer came over the weekend as Stevie posted the subject line from a spam e-mail she received: "south american sea lion fidget maurice chevalier." Jackpot! Chevalier sounded Italian (a language I do n

To share

I think the kind of relationship advice Tasha gives in this week's Ask the AV Club is something I don't hear enough. Aside from what Leah says in her column and podcast (and what wisdom Jason passes my way), too often I hear fluffy cliches that are too vanilla. Even worse, I hear advice saying you should initially present yourself to someone in a slightly false light. So when I read a passage like this, I wish those bland advice-givers would take a few notes: Don't be an asshole. Having strongly held, precisely detailed opinions on Yasujiro Ozu or Badly Drawn Boy or Brian Michael Bendis isn't the problem. Forcing them on people who didn't ask, or sneering at those who disagree or don't care, is a problem . . . And stop thinking that being a geek is a bad thing in and of itself. It isn't, and it certainly isn't a relationship deal-killer. Being an unsocialized jerk is the problem. Like I was once told in a pseudo-intervention (and still agree with), em

Can't Stop Won't Stop

As much as I am a fan of reading books, the amount of half-read and unread books in my house grows year after year. I wish I could blame Borders for sending out those 20-percent-off coupons every week, but I'm the sucker to blame for wanting to read so much. Plus, I'm the one to blame for trying to read one book and then jumping into another. Right now, I'm reading Slash's biography and immensely enjoying it. Even though I planned to read the Joe Strummer and Charles Schulz's biographies I received for Christmas shortly after Christmas, they have been put to the side until I finish reading Slash . Of course, the backlog of other books waiting to be finished is immense. Here's a rundown and why: High Fidelity I loved the movie based off of it, but I have never read a page from the copy I purchased three years ago. Maybe it's because I hoped to read it when I was in a mental space where I wasn't feeling bitter about past relationships. Gig The book has a g

Light the candles . . .

Now I have the same age with the title of a Ryan Adams record. Also celebrating birthdays today are: Mena Suvari (same age as me, from American Beauty and American Pie , as well as the soon-to-be-released-straight-to-DVD-remake of Day of the Dead ) Peter Tork (of the Monkees) Peter Gabriel Peter Hook Jerry Springer Henry Rollins Prince Michael Jackson

And as I recall, I think, we both kinda liked it

Seeing this clip of a pop show rendition of Deep Blue Something's "Breakfast at Tiffany's" reminds me of when a song is abused too much. In my own experience, it really kicked in when I saw my high school drill team dance to the Offspring's "Come Out and Play." I don't recall ever playing the song in marching band, but I do remember seeing the sheet music and groaning. At that point, when it came to pop tunes played at halftime and in the stands, they were relegated to songs from the Sixties or Seventies. Here was a song -- a pop-punk song no less -- that had only been out for a couple of years and now it's a half-time entertainment piece. This was a song I enjoyed and credit it (along with "Longview" and "Basket Case") for getting me into the pop-punk genre. Now here I was seeing it played for people who I always thought could give a flying you-know-what about this band, its fans and its style of music. It was then I began t


Saturday night, while visiting relatives, I skimmed through the latest issue of Entertainment Weekly and came across a small article on an apparently popular catchphrase. The catch is, I hadn't heard anyone use it and am rather suspicious of its popularity. The following morning, I read Tasha's entry (where publicists came by her office to drop off something tied directly to the line) and I found the timing even more suspicious. The line is from There Will Be Blood and it's from the final scene: "I drink your milkshake! I drink it up!" says Plainview to his rival Eli Sunday. Of all the powerful quotes from that movie, this flimsy little line is what people appear to gravitate towards. Yes, rather than "I am finished" or "I am a false prophet and God is a superstition," it's this. Searching on Google, there are plenty of amusing results: is at the top of the list, along with message board threads, and even a MySpa

Drops to the ground, unravels like a thread

Hear me out -- I'm happy that Omar and Cedric have found more musical freedom in the Mars Volta than they did in At the Drive-In. Yet getting me to listen to a new Mars Volta record becomes harder and harder with each new one. Attempting to get into their latest, The Bedlam in Goliath , I think I've reached the point of mercy. I heard great things about Bedlam (David Fricke's 4-star review was one of the biggies for me), mentioning how it was a return to form for the band, but it all seems relentless and monotonous at the same time. New drummer Thomas Pridgen is a powerful and very worthy replacement to Jon Theodore, but this is the Omar and Cedric show. There's very little breathing space, and frankly, no big hooks to really draw me in. When I mean hooks, I don't necessarily mean pop hooks or the kinds of hooks focus groups use to decide whether a song should be played to a large, daytime audience. Rather, something that says there's something deeper than jus

Melancholics Anonymous

Well, this was fast. After last week's press release detailing a face to face reunion and a Trever Keith solo record, the record is already available for streaming and as a paid download. As somebody who always liked Ignorance is Bliss , I gotta say it's cool Trever's going further with this direction.

The names are all changed

Last week saw the announcement of another name change for the venue I've forever thought of as the Dallas equivalent of the Woodlands Pavilion. No longer called the Smirnoff Music Centre, it's now the Center. Yes, the ".com" is included, like the Bowl game. Like fellow former Houston resident Kev (who blogged about this last week), I think of this place as a place I've rarely been to. As a matter of fact, the only time I've been there was when Merge 93.3 hosted a free comedy show. I've never been to an Edgefest or OZZfest and have no plans to see a concert there in the near future. So why bother mentioning this? Well, to be frank, Center doesn't sound like a music venue to me; it sounds more like a shopping center. Besides, coupled with all the years I called the Texas Rangers' stadium the Ballpark in Arlington and then had to call it Ameriquest Field in Arlington and now it's something else,


Kev listed six non-important things/habits/quirks of his last week. Here's my list. 1. It's rare for me to go to the grocery store as a stand-alone trip. Usually there's a stop at Panda Express beforehand. 2. Somehow I can play double-bass at an alarmingly fast rate of speed but not at mid-tempo speed. If I learn how to properly play mid-tempo, does that mean I'll be able to play even faster? 3. Despite watching various bits and pieces from DVD box sets I got for Christmas, I've watched the Zao documentary, The Lesser Lights of Heaven , over and over again, more than anything else. Thanks again Ryan . 4. A large portion of Tin Cup was filmed down the street from my parent's house. My mom was an extra, as were a number of other people from Kingwood. 5. I rarely say "fixin' to." If I do, I apologize. 6. I've never watched the NBC version of The Office . I still think the BBC version is great.

Between the click of the light and the start of the dream

So, my Super Bowl experience was different than any other one I'd experienced. Since Fox 4 usually barely comes in on the rabbit ears, I was convinced I had to go somewhere else to watch. Ryan was in the suburbs visiting family while Jason was in Houston for work, so I opted to hit up a certain bar that I've frequented many times before. The bar is great, has a flat-screen TV and its very nice owner recognizes me. No problem right? Well, after having one beer and watching most of the first two quarters, I decided to head for the exit. In addition to an uncomfortable seating arrangement and severe soreness in my neck due to wine-induced head-banging the night before, I had to share space behind liquored-up sports fans. Not just the type of fans who like to hoot and holler at good plays and boo at bad plays. I'm talking the ones who feel they must comment about everything that comes on the screen, usually letting out their misery and showing their lack of self-restraint. Th

We've Only Just Begun

Todd asked a really good question in the previous post's comment section: When is that book gonna be done? Do you need a publicist for it? :) Well, it seems like Todd read my mind as I planned to do a quasi-book update today. Here's what I have to allow: --I'm doing one last edit of the manuscript to make sure I didn't miss anything. Since I don't have the funds (and am afraid) to hire a proper editor, I'm going sentence by sentence and word by word. Meaning, I'm reading each sentence aloud. If it doesn't sound right or the paragraph doesn't feel right, out come the tools. (But I should add, I have a number of friends who are editors and are happy to answer various random questions from me. So I'm not doing this completely blind.) --A fear I have with handing everything over to an editor involves something that seems small and minor, but huge to me. It's specifically with band name spelling. He or she could see what appears to be a spelling