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Showing posts from November, 2008

A post-Thanksgiving of thanks

In addition to my family and friends, I'd like to thank the following: --People having a genuine interest in reading Post . It's very nice to just tell somebody about a book and he or she is interested just because of the pitch. No DVD players, concert tickets, or vacations are necessary to bargain. --Quarterly royalty statements from the book publisher. One of the bigger reasons I went with the publisher I went with. --The breakfast taco place down my street. Amazing what happens when a place offers great food and the owners truly appreciate your business. What a novel concept. --My dog for not peeing on my bed, so far, this year. --Working a job where random strangers are not allowed in so they ask you tons of questions while you're trying to work. --A nice, long street to run and walk on. -- LOST Season 4 for being awesome. --The DVD selection at Movie Trading Company and Borders. All hail DVD prices $8-$12!

A year in music

So, here's my attempt to summarize my year in listening to albums. Once again, I don't see any harm in talking about records that weren't released in 2008. If they were records that rocked my world more than in previous years, they get listed. Also once again, no clear-cut ranking here, just a listing, save for the last few. British Sea Power, Do You Like Rock Music? Knowing someone who's a big BSP fan and knowing that another person had a copy of this record, I decided to take a listen to "Waving Flags" on the A.V. Club's "The best tracks of 2008 so far" feature . Sounding like the Doves covering the Flaming Lips' "Race for the Prize" (in a good way), I had to hear this record. I'm quite a fan of the drumming and the lead guitar playing in this band because of this record. I haven't really checked out their previous work, so I'm a latecomer. This record definitely reminds me of great U.K. rock bands from earlier in the

The Core Principle of Our Metareality, and/or Pat Riley's Head

Donna recently had the pleasure of Chuck Klosterman visiting her university for an appearance. Yesterday she wrote a few things about Klosterman and I was reminded of why I like his writing. (I know I've written about him before, but I simply wanted to reiterate a few things.) I blame my slow reading habits as to why my copies of Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs , Killing Yourself to Live , and IV have sat on my "to-read" shelf for months. I will get to them eventually, but for now, all I really know of Klosterman's work are his articles in Spin and Esquire , and especially his first nonfiction book, Fargo Rock City . Fargo Rock City really inspired me in tackling a subject matter in a serious manner, knowing full well that it is often ridiculed by a lot of people. His personal take on hair metal goes beyond the surface of hair metal itself. In short, his experience as a hair metal fan was the gateway to deeper things. In reading his stuff, I realized how I can use wh

It's not a habit, it's cool, I feel alive.

I think I spend too much time on the Internet. I think most of us spend too much time on the Internet. But I wonder if this is an addiction or just a necessary way of modern life. Furthermore, can something like this be considered an addiction? I believe I spend roughly seventy hours a week online. It's a staggering amount of hours, and it doesn't seem like such a big deal. I like checking my e-mail regularly and surfing the web, and a portion of my job requires being on the Internet. Is it a crime to be up to date on everything sent to me virtually? I don't think so. So, what gives? Maybe addiction is really only a problem until it starts to affect how you interact (or don't interact) with people. For example, there have been a few Dr. Phil segments on married men addicted to watching Internet porn, treating the topic as a problem. Men choosing to look at naked women online more than their wives naked? Then that's a problem. Men checking the score of a college foo

Goodbye 20th Century

I recently finished David Browne 's superb biography of Sonic Youth, Goodbye 20th Century , and was quite amazed by how many people Browne interviewed for it. To me, it's a matter of the people he didn't get to interview for it (which, I gathered, was a really short list). In other words, he interviewed pretty much everybody who's still alive first-hand, including ex-members, friends, record label people, and roadies, as well as the band members themselves. As a result, I found the book to be a really well-rounded view of a band I've always wanted to know more about. Throughout reading it, I was reminded of how hard it can be to interview that many people. I'm not talking just about the interviews themselves. Getting somebody on the phone or e-mail was quite a chore in quite a few cases while I was researching Post . I made every effort to interview everybody I wanted to, but I didn't get everybody, unfortunately. I'm proud to say I did interview at lea

The calls are coming inside the house

In an effort to have better ammunition for an argument, I decided to do some research into the world of modern horror movie remakes. After recently watching Zack Snyder's decent take on Dawn of the Dead , I decided to check out Glen Morgan's take on Black Christmas . All I can do is groan and roll my eyes after seeing this flick. But I'm glad I watched it for several reasons. Bob Clark's 1974 original has become one of my favorite horror flicks, right up there with the original Halloween . My review basically states all the things I dig about the film, but I'd also add that the scares, pacing, and (especially) the visual style are what make this a great film. In regards to the 2006 remake, the visual style is quite good (especially with all the Christmas lights), but that's about all I can praise about this film. I have a long list of complaints about the remake, but I'll just share a few for right now. My big complaint is with the "protagonists"

Is There a Way Out

In Post , there's a good reason why I excluded quotes about bands never getting back together. Those quotes never look good when a band does get back together. It's one thing for band members to say in articles that the band will never reunite. It's another thing when a statement of that magnitude is said in something like a book or documentary. There was only one band member I interviewed who said his old band will never get back together. I'm not saying who it was or which band it was, but I will say this, it wasn't a member of the Get Up Kids. With their reunion show on Sunday , I'm very thankful none of them said a reunion would never happen. Maybe I'm comparing apples to grapes here, but I came of age when super-popular bands, who swore off all possible reunions for years, reunited. I remember the Eagles' Hell Freezes Over concert, album, and tour all very well. I remember the Pixies and Pink Floyd (with Roger Waters) reunions. Basically, all thos

For Me This is Heaven

Reading over Scott's post on Jimmy Eat World's upcoming live performances of Clarity , I got to thinking. First of all, this is a great idea for the band. When I saw them open for the Foo Fighters earlier this year, I was surprised they played "Blister." Since they have done three albums since Clarity , I figured set lists were becoming less on material from their second and third albums. (As an amusing side note, I'm curious if they'd ever try to play their first album, a turbo-charged pop-punk collection, front to back live.) As somebody who was very much a Jimmy Eat World fan back when Clarity came out, I'm very happy that these shows are happening. If they came anywhere close to where I live, I'd try to see the show. The response to Clarity was not like Jawbreaker's Dear You was received. It was not almost-universally-hated when it came out in early 1999. Quite different. There was something very special about this record that, aside from a


For some reason, whenever we hear stories of people's lives drastically changing once their first book, film, or record is released, we think everybody's life drastically changes when that happens. Well, for most of us, there are plenty of moments of pure joy mixed in with the day-to-day activities of life that were there before the release date. And that's perfectly fine by me. Maybe it's reading a book like Rebel Without a Crew (especially the part where Robert is in the middle of a bidding war between large studios) or hearing how Kevin Smith's life changed after Clerks , there's this sense that the proverbial snowball effect either happens completely or not at all. Well, the maybe not-as-entertaining story involves a lot of downtime with some great highs and great lows. I know this all too well. In my case with Post , the phone hasn't been constantly ringing. Editors at large publishing houses haven't been chasing me or my agent down with offers fo

Clocked In

Another crazy thought that enters my head after hours upon hours of thinking: what if all books were intended to be read, start to finish, in the same amount of time most movies run? Meaning, what if you had only ninety minutes or two or three hours to read an entire book? If that were to be the case, I would read way more books in my lifetime. But it's not how it is. It takes me at least two weeks to read an entire book, averaging four to ten pages on a regular day, twenty to thirty on a not-so regular day. And this is with plenty of free time on my hands. So I'm amazed when I read friends' blogs about reading entire books in under a week. How is this possible, and I am a super-slow reader? I've touched on this subject before, but what takes so long for me is reading every single sentence. What I read has to resonate with me. It's hard to understand what's going on without knowing that. So I wonder: how can I spend one ninety-minute sitting watching a document

Plug time

-Here's a little plug for my author page on GoodReads. I must applaud the site for allowing the actual authors to maintain their own pages. Why? A certain, widely-read site thinks it's a conflict of interest for this kind of ownership, and bans anyone who tries to maintain their own page. Don't you just love the game of Telephone the Internet can be? -Looks like Brian's book will be coming out next spring on Revelation, with a really big release show planned in Chicago.

Be Your Own Publicist

Time for some more advice to those thinking about writing a book, inspired by Robert Rodriguez's "ten minute film school" featurettes. Yesterday I found out that I saved quite a bit of money by not hiring a publicist to promote Post . How much? Well, based on what my publisher quoted, it would have been equivalent of buying two 42-inch flat-screen TVs or a quarter of the price to buy a brand new car. Now, I'm well aware that many other publicists charge far, far less, but a general rule of thumb became abundantly clear: use your own contacts and go from there. Long before the book came out, I envisioned giving the book out to people who would want to read it right away. I knew I couldn't afford to give away a lot of copies, so I had to really narrow my list down. I was fortunate enough (and quite flattered) to have a number of people buy a copy right as it came out, so that helped narrow the list down even more. My prevailing hope with sending out these copies was

The Big Takeover

The commentary track is done, and hopefully will be online soon. Until then, I thought I'd share this nice review that will appear in the next issue of The Big Takeover . Post Eric Grubbs James Mann In tracing the evolution of the “post-hardcore” scene, Eric Grubbs has done a vital and laudable job at shining a light on the leaders of a genre that hasn’t seen a lot of critical inspection, despite its growing influence. Nirvana’s “Nevermind” acts as ground zero for the bands depicted here- from Hot Water Music to Jawbox, Fugazi and Dischord Records, but where they went from there is an arresting tale, well told. Grubbs discovers the personalities behind the faces, such as his compelling look at Sunny Day Real Estate, or the Promise Ring. While stylistically divergent, all the bands spotlighted here share the same sense of experimentation within musical forms, and a dedication to the emotional honesty that true creation demands of an artist. So does Eric Grubbs- and