Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2009

Let's play some jazz

Blogging will be near non-existent for the next few days due to the holidays, so I thought it would be fun to post a fun little clip that I keep watching over and over again. It's Bill Cosby on the Dick Cavett Show talking about a time he drummed for Sonny Stitt. Yes, it's nine minutes long, but if you like Cosby's way of storytelling, it's not long. Happy holidays.

Heavy Metal Drummer

Something that's been brewing for a couple of months that I haven't written about is that I have a new band going. We have no name, no songs completed, no plans to record soon, or any shows lined up. And I can't begin to tell you how great that is. With all due respect to the bands I've played with before, I have the most fun with bands that start from scratch. A couple of bands I played with found me having to learn songs very quickly before a show in a few weeks or a month. Well, as fun and challenging as that may be, having a clean slate is a nice alternative. There's no rush, but there's no desire to just let things lag. Basically, a few months ago, I pitched the idea via a Facebook status update about starting a new band. The message was simple: "Eric Grubbs thinks it's time to start a new band." Luckily, my friend Kyle expressed interest in playing guitar and singing. He's played in bands for years and has been between bands for almost

The calls are coming from inside the house

I don't have many Christmas-themed traditions other than present shopping, hanging some lights in my house, and listening to Christmas music, but I do like to watch a few holiday-themed movies and TV specials. One of the obvious, no-brainers is the Charlie Brown Christmas special. Elf is another one. But being a huge horror flick fan as well, the original Black Christmas is also another one. I've written about this flick for Richard's site , and my opinions still stand. But I'd like to add a few things now that I've seen the film on a bigger TV (42-inch over 32-inch made for a much different experience) and after I've seen the absolutely awful remake that for clarity purposes I'll call Black X-Mas . I never knew how much humor was laced into the original. The humor tends to break up some of the tension of the story, but the humor doesn't derail the story. Matter of fact, it's like you get to take a breath between all those obscene phonecalls and

I wanna dip my . . .

Good news on the taking chances front: I successfully made cake balls over the weekend. As someone who had never baked a cake on his own before, there were multiple miles gained by doing this. Back when I had dryer issues and did a load of laundry at my neighbors' place, I noticed they were making cake balls. Knowing that I wanted to bake something for the first time for a potluck dinner in a few weeks, I figured I could try to make this stuff. Besides, if I had any questions, I knew a few people that knew what they were doing. So using a recipe found in this article, I decided to use a yellow cake mix with chocolate frosting and sprinkles. Making the whole thing involved freezing clumps of cake overnight before dipping them in melted chocolate, but I gave myself plenty of time and plenty of room for error. Thankfully, there were no meltdowns in the kitchen or panicked runs to the grocery store. (But I did have to run to the grocery store before I started when I realized that I

The same person

A short time ago, I heard a critique about Max Brooks' fictional oral history, World War Z , that I have not forgotten: every quote sounded like it was coming from the same person. Even though dozens of people from across the globe are interviewed after this zombie apocalypse, all the quotes sound like they're from one person. I've kept that in mind as I've worked on the second book, but sometimes, oral histories can't help but sound like they're coming from one person, fictional or nonfictional. Two books that I still cite as big stylistic influences for my book are Fool the World and The Other Hollywood . In particular, the flow of the quotes from person to person in Fool the World has been a big influence. With The Other Hollywood , the massive amounts of different people quoted yields to a handful of very fleshed-out characters. In those books, the use of language might sound similar, but the different personalities come out the deeper the quotes go. I

Agony and Irony

I have a saying that I sometimes use in traffic reports: when one major problem clears, another pops up. The deal is, that phrase can be applied to what Matt and I have gone through in the last week. The good news is that the dryer is finally back working. After what one electrician and one washer/dryer repairman couldn't agree on, another electrician found the problem. The dryer is totally fine, as well as the outlet in the laundry room. The problem was how the breaker was wired up, and the fix took maybe five seconds to do. We finally had heat again in the dryer and the dryer worked properly (though I had to flip the breaker twice later that night to finish my load of laundry). Literally one week later, I ran the dryer again and there were zero problems. The breaker did not have to be flipped. The dryer worked like a breeze. And around then was when I noticed we were experiencing problems with our house's heater. For almost forty-eight hours, there was a very loud screech

68

Thankfully as expected, footage from Jawbox's performance last night is now online. (Here's one of many sites that have the main clip, along with songs from soundcheck.) As somebody who never saw Jawbox play live, this was quite a great performance. Keep in mind, I have no frame of reference of how they played between 1989 and 1997. So as somebody who saw J. play with Burning Airlines twice, has listened to the band's discography since 1996, and oh, wrote a whole chapter devoted to them, I'm very safe to say that I'm satisfied. Not to be one of those annoying folks that wants bands to stay together forever, but I hope this wasn't the last we've seen of a Jawbox live performance. I definitely do not think these guys should give up what they've done since the band's breakup in 1997 and tour like maniacs. Rather, one-off live shows would be great, but I don't call the shots on that.

Hey angel

Tonight marks the reunion of Jawbox as they perform on NBC's Late Night With Jimmy Fallon . Chances are high this will be a one-off reunion, so I strongly encourage to check this performance out. If you hate Jimmy Fallon's nervous and fast humor, skip over that and just focus on the end of the show. As I researched POST , it was abundantly clear to me that the members of the band were still on good terms. Of course Bill and Kim were on good terms because they have been married since 1997, and J. and Zach were still in communication with them. I never asked if a reunion would happen, and frankly, it never crossed my mind to ask. I've never been one who pines for reunions, but if they happen, I usually don't object. Seeing the Sunny Day Real Estate and Get Up Kids reunions had a positive impact on their legacies. So I see no problem with Jawbox coming together and playing a show. Now if J. hired three mall-punks, called it Jawbox, and claimed that the contributions from

Life on the other end of retail

As somebody who has worked retail, I know all too well about the perils of holiday shopping. The meanest people come out of the woodwork, and they can spoil everything for the ones that are extremely nice around the holiday season. So that's why I'm very thankful that about 97 percent of my Christmas shopping was done online. I stayed away from shopping on Black Friday mainly for three reasons: I wanted to have a nice lunch with my family before I headed back to Dallas, I spent four hours straight in my car back to Dallas, and I rested for a little while before heading out to Denton for the Cursive show. So I didn't have to brave long lines or sit in traffic. The day after Thanksgiving was just another holiday travel day for me. Between that day and today, I took advantage of Amazon's deals and didn't mind the three or four days it would take to get my stuff in the mail. Everyone on my list has something really cool awaiting them, and I took advantage of some good

Fifty novels, non-fiction books, and short-story anthologies

Even though this happened only a few weeks ago, I can't seem to recall exactly what drew me to check out the Stephen King section at one of the Borders I routinely hit up. Maybe it was because I had a coupon in my hand and I couldn't find anything that I really wanted to read in the music/movies/TV section? Maybe it was because I've seen positive reviews of King's latest, Under the Dome ? Maybe because the ending of The Box stuck to me like the ending of The Mist did? I just can't remember exactly why, but those are all very valid reasons. All I can say is, my dissatisfaction with the size of King's books in paperback led me to a secret goldmine found in almost any Half Price Books. Yes, due to fact that most of King's books (save for the Dark Tower series) come in a size and shape meant to fit in your pocket, I have had no interest in reading a book that small. My eyesight is perfectly fine, but I don't like reading books that have no margins and a

Can't fight this feeling anymore

Some pretty promising news: I've started working full speed ahead on my second book, When We Were the Kids . I've worked on it here and there for the last two years, but I planned on devoting at least thirty minutes a day to working on a first draft starting January 1st, 2010. The deal is, I just couldn't wait. Something kept me from taking a nap on Saturday. I just couldn't fall asleep in my recliner with Victory at my side. So I decided then and there to return to the first seventeen pages I had done and go from there. Thinking about this, I thought I'd share another piece of helpful writing advice: it's better to write when you're inspired instead of when you think you'll be inspired. I know people have their preferences, but it's like you can't fully plan when a child is conceived or born. You can plan to set that stuff in motion, but many other factors out of your control make that stuff come to fruition. In other words, when you feel ins

After All These Years

This is a fun topic to come back around to: revisit your favorite records from years past and say what you think of them now. Since a number of sites have done "Best of" lists for the decade, let's review, shall we? 2000 I don't think I came up with a list for this year, but At the Drive-In's Relationship of Command was definitely one of my favorites of that year. The first nine songs really blew my mind, but it wasn't until years later that I grew to love the entire album. After the first nine songs, I just grew fatigued of the near-constant sonic assault. Now I think of that record as important in so many ways, so far as influence on many bands that came afterwards, and how powerful this record still sounds. 2001 Memory is very clear on this one: Ryan Adams' Gold . While I always liked the record, it wasn't until I was stuck in a 50-minute back-up on I-45 through Corsicana on the day before Thanksgiving that I realized this was my favorite recor

Cursive

My review of Cursive's Black Friday show is now online. Watching the four-band bill on Friday was like watching many Dallas Cowboys' wins: Everything came together in the last part. The mighty Cursive arrived at one of Denton's finest venues with a relatively new lineup. Whereas the last time they came through DFW with three additional members on various instruments, the band had only one auxiliary member this time. Oh, and a new drummer as well. But, despite the ever-changing lineups, Cursive has yet to disappoint live, and the show at Hailey's continued the winning streak. Read the rest here .

A year in music

I heard plenty of good/great stuff this year, and with only a few weeks left in the year, I thought it was time to share. Since I like to list the artists that I listened to and enjoyed the most during the year, regardless if they put a new record out in 2009, here's the whole enchilada. Thank you, Jason Hensel Jason, my good friend, bandmate, and housemate of five years, decided to move out and buy a house at the beginning of the summer. As he prepared to pack everything up, I combed through his vast CD collection to burn copies of anything and everything I've wanted to hear but never got around to. As I filled up half of a CD-R spindle, I came very, very attached to Beth Orton's first two albums, Trailer Park and Central Reservation . I shied away from Orton's material for years because I was led to believe it was mostly electronic with some forays into folk. Luckily, especially upon listening to Central Reservation , I realized the opposite was true. Since summ

What Have I Done?

"In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure," says Bill Cosby. And I agree completely. The problem is, my fear of failure is much greater than my desire for success. Except when it comes to writing books. I've tooted my horn quite a bit about why writing POST was such a big deal for me. It was, for the first time, something I wanted to start and finish, and not chicken out on or lose interest in. I was determined from the day I decided to write the book and -- save for a few fleeting moments while watching a certain section of Spider-Man 2 in the theater -- to never give up. Why that desire was so strong is that I'm usually easily turned off by things when I hear about potential, severe downsides. Case in point, if I were to quit my job today with no other job lined up, I'd think about the struggles friends and family encountered with finding a new job. Couple that with all the things I went through when I was laid

It was in the laundry room with Mr. Mustard and the candlestick

The ongoing comedy from my laundry room has yet to give a curtain call. Yesterday afternoon, a washer and dryer repairman came out and checked to see what the problem was. Turns out, there's nothing wrong with our dryer, but an electrician must come out and fix the wall's outlet. So that means yet another day of no working dryer. That also means I'm down to maybe two more days of clothes, and that's it. I have not done a proper load of laundry since October 30th. Jason was kind enough to let me do the rest of my laundry while he hosted a party at his new house. When I was led to believe that the dryer was fixed a week later, I went ahead and did a load. The deal was, that was when I found out that the dryer had very little (and eventually) no heat. Since some of the clothes eventually dried out, I got a few more days. Now with two sets of towels and sheets that need to be washed in addition to nearly two weeks of clothes, I'm grasping at straws. I have a couple o

You mean I gotta drink this coffee hot?

Tomorrow marks the fourth time I will purchase Clerks , as well as the second time to purchase Chasing Amy and Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back . What's the occasion? Well, Clerks and Chasing Amy debut on the beloved Blu-ray format, and since it's available in a three-pack with Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back on Blu-ray, I figured what the hell. But a better question can be: why the hell am I buying these Kevin Smith movies again? The answer is simple: with new bonus material on these BDs, I can't resist. I have yet to encounter a flimsy, unfunny, or boring commentary track from Kevin. I even bought the special edition of Road House just to hear Kevin and Scott Mosier's "fan" commentary. I find this pure entertainment that is worth hearing again and again. So, my hopes are high with the long-awaited debut of the Oh, What a Lovely Tea Party on the Clerks BD and the new commentary and featurettes on the Chasing Amy BD. Yet earlier today a fellow View As

My Life is Right

While I have a tremendous bias towards this article on original Big Star bassist Andy Hummel (I lent the author my copy of Rob Jovanovic's Big Star biography for research), I found such a breath of fresh air in what Hummel had to say about his post-Big Star life. Too often, I hear about how the life of a full-time musician, along with a full-time actor's, is the glamorous life. As in, this is the dream for those who don't want the apparent dread that comes with a regular, 40-hour day job. Well, there can be dread in almost anything you do job-wise, even if it's a job you love. But the point at hand is how Hummel prefers the life he's had after quitting Big Star in the 1970s. He's married with children and works at Lockheed-Martin. On paper, that sounds like an ordinary life, but I've found that life only looks ordinary on the surface. Hummel still plays music, and that's what I find even more endearing about his path. Too often, we hear about a fu

Feels Creamy

Sometimes, there are epiphanies that are simple but profound. Recently, an epiphany came to me after reading a single list out of the A.V. Club's recently-released book, Inventory . Flipping through the book before I went into the theater to watch Where The Wild Things Are , I turned to page 114 and saw a large picture of Bob Odenkirk and David Cross. With the list's subheading of "1 Amazing Mid-'90s Sketch-Comedy Show That Towers Above All Others and Still Provides Endlessly Quotable Material More Than a Decade Later," I figured it was time to jump in the deep end with Mr. Show . Since my epiphany came from a book filled with lists, I figured it would be fun to explain my reasons in a list. Feels Creamy Why It Took a Good Ten Years and A Couple of False Starts For Me To *Get* Mr. Show 1. I had seen the show a couple of times late night on HBO when it was originally on. I don't remember laughing at a single joke. That said, I laughed really, really hard

The Dryer Trilogy

Normally I prefer to talk about movies and music, but the problems in the laundry room keep rearing their head. It's like a comedy of new issues when one is solved. This past Friday and Saturday, a very friendly and hardworking electrician came out and swapped out another breaker. Getting the right breaker was a multiple-trip-to-Home-Depot ordeal, but he found the right one and installed it. With the dryer's light coming back on and the dryer working, everything seemed to be working . . . for a few minutes. For whatever reason, before the electrician came out, the dryer would randomly stop a few minutes or ten minutes into a cycle. When I would open the dryer, the light would be off and I would then flip the breaker. One day of laundry meant flipping the breaker nearly a dozen times. (Yes, the lengths I will go to get laundry done.) So I start up the dryer as the electrician finished putting away everything, and it stops two minutes in. I flip the breaker, start the dryer ag

The Crash

My first full-page feature for the Observer is online. This one is on The Crash That Took Me. A few years ago, downstairs at Sons of Hermann Hall, the wooden staircases and walls started to shake as two bands in the room above played a song that sounded like something off of My Bloody Valentine's Loveless . Four guitars played one bendy riff at top volume, and drums pounded like wrecking balls. The song was called "Bloody Basin," and the two bands onstage were [DARYL] and Black Tie Dynasty. Now, in 2009, you could say this was a defining transition moment for Dylan Silvers. Read the rest here . Also, I reviewed the band's newest record, and it is here .

Unmasked

Last night, I decided to check out the new, modern retelling of V . As apprehensive as I am about the idea of remakes in general, I make special exceptions from time to time. Like Battlestar Galactica , I had no longstanding love for the original series, so I came to V like a cold fish. Almost. I've told this story before, but I don't think I've told the nuts and bolts of the whole story. So here's the context. Though I spent a lot of time playing by myself in our house when my family lived in New Orleans, there were a few times I went over to friends' houses and played. One friend was named Janelle, and I seem to recall going over to play a handful of times. This was the early 1980s, and I can't remember my exact age, but I was maybe five or six years old. A lot of neighborhood kids would come over to Janelle's house, and one day, a boy a few years older than me wanted to watch a show called V . I had never heard of the show at the time, but I still vi

The Dryer Wars

The dryer woes continue, but they have made for a rather amusing adventure in getting my weekly laundry done. And this has made me wonder about my laundry habits in the first place. While I own enough different outfits to wear for maybe two or three months without a trip to the laundry room, that number is greatly reduced by the number of clothes that fit the size I currently wear. Thanks to sticking to a regular exercise routine and being mindful of what I eat, a lot of my clothes are too big for me. I still want to hold onto these articles of clothing, mainly out of fear I'll gain back all the weight I lost. So in other words, I wear maybe a quarter of the wardrobe I actually own. I own a lot of T-shirts (mainly bands I was really into while I was in college), and while T-shirts are fine to wear to my workplace, I prefer to not wear them everyday. Pretty much every work week involves khakis, loose button-down shirts, and socks. I wear clothes until they fall apart, so I have m

Hey, remember the 90s?

I can't remember exactly when or where I heard this last week, but something about 1990s nostalgia was brought up in a conversation. Something was mentioned about how it was going to be the next nostalgia trend with people my age and younger. As in, more modern bands referencing 90s bands and people throwing parties centering around a theme that is very 90s-centric. And within just a few days, I talked with some friends at a party that were en route to a party where people were asked to dress up as a character from a 90s' sitcoms. I know nostalgia doesn't stop, and I don't think nostalgia is a bad thing, but I find things strange to experience nostalgia for an era that actually lived through. Being a teenager who was born at the end of the 1970s meant there were no 8-tracks, Led Zeppelin concerts, or a Vietnam War to deal with in your teenage years. So it's easy to imagine how things were much cooler in the 70s when the Ramones and the Clash put out their debut al

Mr. Can't Fix It

As I continue to rent and apparently throw money away every month, I'm frequently reminded of why I'd be a bad homeowner: I'm terrible with fixing things. My answer to almost any problem that has come up in the time I've lived on my own: tell the landlord. Of course, I watch and take mental notes while something is fixed, but my indecisive nature would just cause me further headaches when I try myself. A recent case in point: we have an issue in the laundry room. Our dryer, which was partially working anyway, seemed to finally bite the dust. When I went to pull a load out after my nap a few weeks ago, I noticed that the clothes were still wet and the dryer would not start. I told one of the landlords and he kindly gave us an old dryer he had. Problem solved, right? Well, the following week, also on laundry day, the same problem occurred. Flipping a breaker, the dryer seemed to work just fine. That is, until I realized that the dryer would only work for about five to t

The New Flesh

Once again, I have a dilemma that's not really dilemma, and it's definitely not something that's earth-shattering or a huge deal, but it's something that always annoys people: what happens when you buy a book or a CD and only a few months later, you hear a new, updated version is out (or about to come out)? Do you suck things up and buy the thing again? Or do you stand your ground and say no? The best example of this happening actually involved a friend of mine and Pavement's Slanted and Enchanted . A few years ago, he lost a bunch of his CDs, and one of the CDs he lost (and he bought again) was Pavement's beloved debut album. The sucky thing was, just a couple of months later, Matador announced a two-disc reissue of the album, with remastered sound quality and a whole gorge of bonus tracks. My friend was left out in the cold, so I seem to recall at least offering to burn him a copy of the reissue from me. Without fail, it seems like whenever you buy something

Keep a book handy

As much as I enjoy watching the Dallas Cowboys play, I've decided to bring along the current book I'm reading to the couch. There are only so many replays of a play I can watch, and only so many times I can roll my eyes at a penalty. While yesterday's game against the Falcons was great, I still had my copy of From Hell lying beside me. The Cowboys are definitely a team to cheer on, but I've sat through plenty of games in the last few years that were sheer frustration and disappointment. In hopes I don't say to myself, "How can I get the last three hours of my life back?" I choose to do something productive. Whether it's bringing out the practice pad and doing paradiddles or reading a book while keeping an eye on the game, I don't want to waste any time, especially if the Cowboys blow the game in the fourth quarter. I usually read whenever the other team has the ball. When the Cowboys have the ball, I watch, but in the time it takes between play

Axe to Fall

For years, I wondered why it seemed like people abandoned a band because they put out a new record that didn't blow them away. Back when I read a lot of blogs and hung around a certain message board, people that were "in the know" seemed to praise the hell out of a band because of a certain record, but then beat the hell out of that same band when the follow-up wasn't as earth-shattering or groundbreaking. Fandom was a really questionable sort of thing. I think my view on this is similar, but I try not to oversell a band onto people. I don't know many people who love ABBA, the Dillinger Escape Plan, and Journey equally, so I'm not about to try to convert those who aren't. I will praise the hell out of stuff that I like, but all bets are off if I am going to praise the next record. I'd prefer to not abandon a band, but sometimes they can get lost in the shuffle of the stuff that is currently rockin' my brain. So it comes as a surprise to me about

I Drink for a Reason

I have not seen a stand-up comedian perform in well over ten years. Usually, whenever a comedian I like comes to town, he or she usually plays a venue that's either too small (most of the time) or too big (some of the time). Plus, the cost is never something I really want to investigate because it's probably too much for something that probably won't last for very long. All this said, when a friend of mine wanted to go see David Cross perform at a venue literally within walking distance from my house, I could not pass up the opportunity. I've never seen David do stand-up before. I don't own any of his CDs, and I've never seen his material on YouTube. Matter of fact, I really only know him from Arrested Development and various interviews on late-night talk shows, along with Superchunk's "Watery Hands" video and Yo La Tengo's "Sugarcube" video. So, I'm not one to roll off obscure lines from Mr. Show or know exactly what he does

Not at a store near you

Even though a release date is far, far off for my next book, I can't help but think about how I'd like to release it. The deal is, I'm thinking about going the self-publishing route again. And that's not just because of control freak nature; I'm especially concerned at the growing consolidation of music books in most chain bookstores. Maybe I've missed this, but the closest Barnes & Noble to me has stopped carrying all books related to movies and music. Yes, once they had a handful of shelves devoted to them, and now there's nothing. And believe me, I searched every single corner of this one and came up empty-handed. Also, the multiple Borders around me keep reducing their stock of CDs, DVDs, and books about music and movies. What once had a handful of rows of books now is a row, maybe two at most. Uh-oh. Maybe this is just showing the ever-growing dominance of Amazon, or just the slow decline in general book sales. But in thinking about putting out

Nothing Gold Can Stay

At the end of this month, I will no longer be a subscriber to a magazine or newspaper. I never thought this would happen back when I read the newspaper in high school or when I subscribed to Rolling Stone back in college. But after I let my Rolling Stone subscription run out, now I'm letting my subscription to Alternative Press run out. I hold no grudges against the magazine, but I think it's time that I stop subscribing. The big reason why is that I'm definitely not in their target audience. As I experienced at the Warped Tour over the summer, I had a good time covering it for the Observer , yet I was definitely not the same person that was super-excited to go to the Warped Tour back in 1997. There are only so many stories I can read about some band that I don't care for their music, and after reading about their fame-seeking ways, I don't like them any more. Not every band featured in the mag is like that, but there are plenty of bands that epitomize the met

Five

Five years ago, after not hearing back from a friend about being a columnist on his website and after thinking of a way of documenting the writing of my first book, I started this blog. There's something to be said about blogging for five years, even if I don't update the blog as much as I used to. I don't see any real reason to stop, so thanks for stopping by and reading.

Hey angel

Really big news came down today: Jawbox is reuniting for a one-off performance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon . I thank Kyle for passing along the info to more people, but now I wonder if an updated version of POST should be considered.

Fat Skeleton

My review for the Sunny Day Real Estate show in Dallas is now online. Sunny Day Real Estate returned to Dallas with such a rush that you couldn't help be deeply moved. Yup, they were that good last night. There was definitely an air of extreme anticipation as the Granada's doors opened: A large crowd had already gathered and plenty of people were antsy to get in. By the time Sunny Day hit the stage just a little after 9, the crowd was packed in tight and ready to see something special. Read the rest here .

A dropped-D metal band we called Requiem

I always get happy when I plow right through a good book. Whether it's a long book like a Harry Potter book or a short one like Carrie Fisher's Wishful Drinking , there's a sense in accomplishment when I finish something in just a few days or even a day. Usually I take at least three weeks to finish a book, but that's when I only read a handful of pages a day. What always helps is when I have a great desire to read a book and keep reading the book until I finish. I'm happy to say that I started and finished the newly-released, Our Noise: The Story of Merge Records , in two days. Why? Because it's that good. I must admit tremendous bias here because I am very much a fan of books that cover the supposed "lost" years between grunge, pop-punk, and garage rock in the mainstream. Seen only as transitional years only years before, I like hearing stories about bands and labels that survived the post- Nevermind years. Merge's story is quite interesting,

Sunny days ahead

My feature on Sunny Day Real Estate is now online. Looking at an extended hiatus from The Foo Fighters, bassist Nate Mendel considered a couple of options. He considered playing again with The Fire Theft, a band he was in with vocalist/guitarist Jeremy Enigk and drummer William Goldsmith, or Sunny Day Real Estate, the acclaimed band he played in alongside Enigk, Goldsmith and guitarist Dan Hoerner in the mid-1990s. Read the rest here . And my review of the Get Up Kids' show is now online. For a reunion tour, The Get Up Kids are not taking the easy route by just playing fan favorites. Last night at the Granada, the band definitely played the songs the fans wanted, but they played so much more. Read the rest here .

Ten minutes to downtown

Here's my preview of tonight's Get Up Kids show. And once it's up, I will post my review of the show. Hard to believe that Something to Write Home About came out literally ten years ago this week. I still remember remember receiving my copy in the mail directly from Vagrant.

One Year Later

So one year ago, while doing a search on Amazon, I found this listing and felt so excited. Thrilled might be a better word, but I felt such a rush of happiness through my veins when I realized that I had a book out. I had waited for this day since March 1st, 2004, and here it was. Now that a year has passed, I have quite a few things that I'd like to share. If there's only one thing I wish POST had more of, it would be a stronger word-of-mouth buzz. Sales have yet to reach the 1,000-mark as of this writing, but it seems like there's always a handful more people that buy a copy each month. I didn't set out to write a book that would instantly sell like hot cakes, but when I looked at the concrete numbers of how many copies were actually sold, there was a feeling of deflation. It was definitely not a sense of failure though. I was approached by a small independent press to reissue the book and supposedly give it more distribution. The deal was, I had never heard of t

More unsolicited writing advice

It's been a while since I've done one of these posts, so I figured now would be a good time. Again, these aren't meant to be law; they're just pieces of advice I've learned along the way that I think would be helpful to people who are thinking about (or are currently) writing a book. I remember a quote from one of the members of Hot Water Music: "We write about what pisses us off." Now, Hot Water has always done a great job of conveying anger without sounding immature or lackadaisical. So I would not recommend saying something too broad and hurtful like, "You suck." That said, and where I'm going with this, use the anger you feel about something and let that motivate you to write something. This is definitely the kind of stuff Stephen King so eloquently put in On Writing : let your life dictate your writing, not the other way around. While I was writing POST , a lot of stuff motivated me to get things done. Just merely seeing a copy of No

Dodgecar

Now with fall in full effect, I'm happy to move on from a summer filled with my new car in the shop. To recap: as I watched Know1ng on DVD early in the summer, a hail storm ripped through my neighborhood and pelted the area for about twenty minutes. The sun stayed out for most of it, and the timing of the storm seemed exactly in sync with the first major catastrophe of the movie (an airplane crash, no less). With the very helpful advice of my sister, who used to work in the auto insurance business, I filed a claim and took my car in for an estimate. The damage was significant, and I felt embarrassed that it happened, even though there was nothing I could have done to avoid it. It's just after years of being fussed at with a lot of stern "Why?"'s coming my way, I had to put my foot down, not apologize, and say there was nothing else I could have done. So I took my car into a large collision shop near my house that was covered by my insurance company, and I pr

Two weeks later

Well, getting cable TV has had an effect on me, and thankfully, it's not the kind of effect where I spend hours every single day flipping through channels. Not much of my life is really that different now that I have some 300 channels to peruse. But between myself and Matt, we have one more thing available to pass the time. I'm still doing the normal schedule I have during the week, but I will not lie how great it is to watch a Cowboys game in high definition. Even if the team blows it in the fourth quarter, it's still a treasure to enjoy a game without snow or fuzz. Basically, I spend a little less time on the computer, but not by much. And that's a good thing. I don't know why, but I tend to underestimate certain aspects of myself. One of them was not knowing how much I would respond to getting cable. I was convinced I'd get hooked on one trashy show after another and lose all sense of time with all the other things that I like to do. And as old-hat as it

Wrapped Up in Books

It's been a long time since I've grown so frustrated with a book that I've stopped reading it halfway through and put it on the shelf indefinitely. Well, that's happened twice in the last month or so, and I chalk this all up to impatience and a large backlog of books I've been meaning to be read. Thanks to online coupons from Borders and the existence of Half Price Books, I've almost doubled the size of my library in the last four years. Since music books are the kind of books I like to read the most, there are quite a few books I want to read. But that takes time when I only read a few pages a day, and read at a rather slow pace. Just a Modern Rock Story , a book on Belle & Sebastian, and Perfect From Now On , a memoir about how indie rock saved John Sellers' life, are the two most recent books I just gave up on halfway through. This abandonment came after much patience and hope that the books would get better. It's not like I didn't like the