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Showing posts from July, 2009

This Calling

There are only a few byproducts of the combination of being an uncle and getting back into modern metal. Actually, there's probably just one: seeing the lung capacity of babies be on par with the most revered vocalists in metal. Seeing this firsthand is where this can all be truly understood. I still love a lot of Dillinger Escape Plan, Killswitch Engage, and All That Remains. And I have loved being an uncle since my twin nieces were born. With each visit, I feel so proud of them just for who they are, even though they do have fits. Now that the girls are getting to an age where they can construct full sentences, the amount of crying has lessened a little bit. But I've already witnessed plenty of crying fits, from being tired to being hungry to being scared, to see the maximum volume these girls can dish. While I see their very loving parents and grandparents do their best to calm them down, seeing them belt out from the stomach is not so much an unnerving experience given my

Annual Comics Plea

Last year, Donna helped me out big time with recommending a whole slew of trade paperbacks/graphic novels to check out. I picked up a pile of books in the following weeks, and I just finished the last book (a trade paperback that is incredibly thin, but it took me eight months to finish reading it). Now I'm at a point where I want to go back to the proverbial well. As much as I like reading comics (and reading in general), I'm still not someone who regularly reads comics. Usually, if there's a movie connection, I'm more inclined. (You won't believe how much more of Watchmen I get now because of seeing the movie a few times.) I have an interest in reading the Scott Pilgrim Vs. books mainly because Edgar Wright's next film is based on the series. So there's an in right there. Plus, I want to finally read From Hell . But as exciting as it is to get back into the swing of things with reading trade paperbacks and graphic novels, it seems without fail that st

(Unsolicited) Book Writing Advice

I haven't written one of these things in a while, so I figured it was time to do another one: more unsolicited advice for those who want to write a book! Write your book first and foremost. I know I am one to talk about getting ahead of myself (Hello, imagining a possible future all alone in a cramped apartment, or imagining a possible future in a big house with tons of uneven compromises, or broadly imagining something nowhere near that -- and hopefully all for the better), but I can't stress how important it is to write your book first and foremost instead of worrying about stuff like what to call the book or who will put the book out. With the two projects I'm working on right now, I have a title for one and no title for the other one. I have a pretty clear idea about what I want to write about with both books, so I'm not worried about that. But I do wonder if I'll have to fight for the title of When We Were the Kids if I decide to go with a name publisher.

To play (in a band) or not to play (in a band)

Two years ago, when I wasn't reporting traffic or writing, I was playing drums in a couple of bands. There were many trips up and down stairs with my sensibly-sized four-piece drum set with two crashes and one ride cymbal. I rehearsed a couple of times during the week and played shows on the weekend. I liked the people I played with, and I enjoyed and weathered the (sometimes frustrating) usual things that come with playing. Well, for almost two years now, my life has not had any of the joys or pains of playing with a band. All the activity disappeared rather quickly off my radar. I was fired from one band for reasons that I'm still not sure why. (I think it's due to the fact that I play aggressively during rock-out parts, but if that's really the reason why, then it's a pretty lame excuse to fire somebody from a rock band.) With my other band, something (or maybe a lot of things) just slowly took the drive out of us. We went from practicing every week to just prac

$240 worth of pudding

If there's something that makes me sound like a total old timer, it's talking about comedy. Without fail, stuff from the Marx Brothers and Bill Cosby always makes me laugh. Yet there are certain forms of comedy from the last fifteen years that baffle me. And it's easy to make light of them because I don't find them really that funny or completely unfunny. (I still don't get how a movie like There's Something Like Mary is considered so-laugh-out-loud-it-hurts funny. How is the "We've got a bleeder!" gag funny? Seriously. And this is coming from somebody who fell onto the floor laughing at the South Park movie on the first viewing) Anyway, a particular example of comedy I don't necessarily always get, but don't necessarily always dismiss, is found on Mr. Show , The Kids in the Hall , and The State . Sometimes I get the humor and laugh; other times I just wonder what the hell is going on, and how did the writers come up with this stuff. In

A summer place for us

Once again, I have a desire to see a movie that is so reviled by critics, but I just want to see it. No matter what, if I hate the movie, love the movie, or find the movie so-so, I just want to see it so I can say what I think of it in my own words. Though The Spirit is high on my Netflix queue, A Summer Place is higher. Yes, A Summer Place , a film whose soundtrack is more renowned than the movie itself. The Percy Faith Orchestra's theme music frequently shows up in the film, and to be frank, it's a theme that I have no problem hearing again and again (see also the orchestral version of "The Last Time" used in the Verve's "Bittersweet Symphony"). I'm also aware of the "will they or won't they do it" prevailing theme throughout the movie. The "it" is, of course, intercourse outside of marriage. Yes, the dirty deed that has ruined people's lives, whether it be unwanted children or STDs. Yes, the deed that is horrible, t

Edit

Over the weekend, I took in a viewing of Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince . Now knowing that I have seen the one movie my parents actually ventured out of their house to see this year, I can share plenty with them as they are Potter fans. I've read almost all of the books (I forgot to read the Chamber of Secrets for some reason) and I have always meant to re-read the series. Now I have some drive to do that. But before I get to that point, I had to point out something that the filmmakers decided to leave out from the Half-Blood Prince book. In hopes I don't come across like an angry early review I read last year, I thought the subtraction of Dumbledore's funeral was wise. Sure, I hope the scene is in the Deathly Hallows movie, but tone-wise, having a Dumbledore funeral after all the mourning and grieving that's already in the movie would seem redundant. Therein lies the challenge of adapting a book into a movie, and moreover, a book series into a movie series.

(The Next Two) Book(s) Update

Time for a little update on the books I've been working on this year: When We Were the Kids and the untitled European horror flick book. Basically, with no concrete deadlines comes a somewhat lazy work ethic. This is the opposite of my ethic with the Observer , but I think as a writer, it's good to have both. When I can find the time this week (or weekend), I'm getting back into watching and reviewing some movies I've seen and have not seen. As much as I loved The Descent , I'm curious how nerve-frying it will be on a second viewing. Plus, I hope to see The Last House in the Woods , a film that Noel gave high regards to, for the first time. I love how watching movies that you want to see can count as research. As far as When We Were the Kids , I'm throwing more ideas around and just jotting down basic ideas. That was the plan back in January, and that's the plan I'm sticking with for the rest of the year. I have plenty to go off of based on all my ex

Finally realizing that Firefox was not an SNES game

I'm definitely in ancient times with a cell phone, and I should also add I'm in ancient times with my computer. My Dell desktop is about four years old, and I'm still running Outlook Express 2003 for e-mail. I'm not about to jump ship and become a Mac user or a Vista user, but I finally decided yesterday to download the Firefox browser. The reasons simply boil down to the never-ending crashes I received when closing a page on Internet Explorer. This had been going on for two months straight, and error messages were sent every time. So I just decided to give in and download something else. So far, so good as the browser works fine and there are no error messages. But I can't but think about people I know that are really into being on top of new technology, and how much I am not. I was puzzled when I saw people drop $500 for an iPhone the day it came out. I'm still puzzled when I see people on a 3G phone surfing the Internet all the time when they've alread

Is there an app for life?

I have owned a whopping number of three different models of cell phones in my life. The one I have had for the past four years is a flip phone, and it works just fine. How it works just fine is that the phone makes phonecalls and sends and receives text messages. Have I ever wanted my phone to do more? Absolutely not, because I don't have the kind of desire for Internet access on my phone. I spend enough of my life on the Internet, so why should I spend all of my life on it? I'd like to restate a comment I left on Donna's blog on this topic: I would say that having a cell phone is a great safety net, but don't let it become your life. Texting is a great option to have. I might not like texting, but I have friends who are easier to contact through text rather than calling them. All this said, all those bells and whistles with camera phones, 3G connections, etc. are, in my opinion, not necessary. There might be an app for anything, as the ad goes, but it's no repla

Horror stories

What's a surefire way to make me nervous about doing something I haven't had much experience (or no experience) in before? Tell me horror stories. As in, you moved into this neighborhood and your house was burglarized three times in one year. Hearing that makes me think I should never consider moving to that neighborhood. Effective, yes, but I'm at a point in my life where I'd like to hear more stories, and preferably not just the horror stories. Something that was eating away at me for the past month was whether or not I wanted to get another dog now that Juliet has moved away with Jason. Hearing all sorts of stories about people bringing a new dog home and the dog crapped everywhere, chewed up books and CDs, and made a total mess definitely made me cautious. Moreover, downright fearful because I tend to interpret people's words of caution to really mean something along the lines of, "only do this if you really want to" or "don't do this at all

Your mother does not work here

A friend and regular reader recently asked a pretty good question: what's the point in making a bed? As someone who makes his own bed everyday he's at his home, I have my reasons. But more along those lines, I think there's something that comes with the discipline you choose to keep after you've moved out of your parents' house and the discipline you let fall to the wayside. In my case, I like to make my bed everyday because it looks nice and tidy during all the hours I'm not sleeping in it. Nobody has told me to make it, and since straightening everything and folding things back in takes an average of a whopping sixty seconds per day, the "chore" fits neatly into my daily routine. However, when I'm staying at my parents' house (aka, the house I spent almost twenty years living in), I fall back into the habit of never making the bed. Something I think is imperative for people trying to find their way as an adult is to live without Mom and Da

I never want to say my best days are behind me

During all the hours I spent at the Warped Tour, I enjoyed running into a couple of people I interviewed for POST . Coupled with my time at the 94.5 the Edge reunion show on Friday, I found the conversations to be a nice lesson in moving on. More specifically, having a nice, steady gig, but it's a gig that doesn't always last forever. Yet after that gig is over, you're able to find something as good or even better, or you're simply able to move on with your life. In the case of the Warped Tour, I ran into someone who is a phenomenal bass player from a legendary band, but his current band has probably received more hate as being a redundant band in a sea of redundant bands. Another person I ran into used to play in a band that was loved in its day, and is still loved to this day, but this band never reached a very large audience. Anyway, he's been working as a sound man for a few years and still plays guitar here and there. At no point during either conversation wa

Warped Wrap-Up

Well, I was on my feet for nine hours, and here's my wrap-up of yesterday's Warped tour. Vans Warped Tour Superpages.com Center July 5, 2009 Better Than: falling asleep on the beach and getting a funny-looking tan. The weather could have been way worse for Sunday's Warped Tour date. It could have rained all day. Or it could have been sunny and extremely hot. Luckily, the weather fluctuated between cloudy, sunny, and overcast. In a lot of ways, that weather rundown sounds like the kinds of moods the entire day was for all things Warped. Read the rest here .

Mind Warp

My preview of Sunday's Warped Tour date is now online. Dissing the Warped Tour and its primary audience is about as moot as criticizing Nickelodeon for catering to a younger audience. Fifteen years in, the Warped Tour still has a reputation for being a fairly priced, all-you-can-digest buffet of bands. From Underoath to Dance Gavin Dance to Bad Religion, there's plenty to see and hear—if you can tolerate the heat. Read the rest here .

The TV entertained itself

Now just a few weeks after the historic transfer from analog to digital TV, I have tried to check out my local channels on my home's TV only twice. Sadly, the ABC affiliate does not come in, and the other channels are hit and miss with reception. But when I come home everyday, I don't think about turning the TV on. Yet when I visit my parents or certain relatives, the TV is a must. Part of my main gig involves having five television sets on the entire time. I'm on the Internet all the time as well, but only the Internet is something I want to be on when I get home. There's no desire to turn on the tube and watch when there are books to be read, magazines to be read, books to be written, and DVDs to be watched. And, of course, music to be heard. For whatever reasons they are, I don't mind watching episodes of Arrested Development or Dinner For Five over and over again while I eat dinner. With the first four seasons of SNL and the entire Battlestar Galactica ser