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Showing posts from September, 2009

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 this

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 Nothi


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 proce

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 may

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 su

Thin White Line

Good news for Jawbox fans: their third album, For Your Own Special Sweetheart , will be finally be reissued on Dischord later this year with three bonus tracks. Remembering when this reissue was announced back in 2004, this is pretty fantastic and all that good stuff. But the bad news for Jawbox completists: the band's cover of the Avengers' "Thin White Line" will not be on this reissue. Nor is "Falk" or "Chump II." Essentially, this Sweetheart reissue contains the original album, along with the B-sides from the Savory+3 EP. These three B-sides ("68," "Lil' Shaver," and "Sound On Sound") are fantastic non-LP gems. A Peel Session version of "68" originally appeared on the My Scrapbook of Fatal Accidents compilation, but not the original studio version. "Sound On Sound" gets the double-dip reissue, but "Lil' Shaver" has never been reissued anywhere else before. While I've ne

What part of "no" don't you understand?

If there's one thing that's incredibly frustrating in life, it's when you don't think you're being heard when you want to be heard. In hopes of steering this away from a vanilla vague philosophical matter, I say that because of a recent run-in with online ID theft. I love the bank I work with. They are very reliable and helpful, and I was surprised how quickly they responded to an apparent fraud on my account. Somehow somebody got a hold of an old credit card number of mine and tried to set up an account on a dating web site. My bank's fraud department immediately called me because the card number expired well over a year ago. While all that's well and good, the deal is, this was a card I never wanted, and when I was offered it, I flatly said "No." But they still sent me one. Compounding this, while depositing some money earlier this year, my very friendly teller started to give me the pitch for another one of these cards. When I kinda-politely cu

Getting off the fence (cable edition)

Some encouraging news about me getting off the fence and actually making a decision. I decided after much debate that I should go ahead and sign up for cable television. Yes, this is proof I can make decisions beyond the ones I make every single day. Basically, since the digital switch, I have had very little success receiving any channels on my rabbit ears. With each channel scan I received less channels than the previous one. So, with the Dallas Cowboys season starting up and a desire to check out some of the upcoming new TV shows, (and with a housemate willing to split the cost) I decided to get digital cable from the same provider I get my Internet service from. Why this seems so big is that I went without cable for almost my entire eight years. For a while at my previous place, I was able to pick up MTV and AMC on my rabbit ears. To show how long ago this was, I remember how Joel and Benji from Good Charlotte hosted a show on MTV and AMC played movies like Halloween 4 on Friday


While I continue to sit on the fence about getting cable, I've made more definite plans to watch (or rewatch) an entire TV show from the beginning on DVD. I'm in the middle of the third season of Cheers , and have just begun to watch LOST again from the beginning. Just watching the pilot episode of LOST again has had immense impact, and I look forward to watch the rest of the series so far up to the season premiere of the sixth and final season next year. As this goes on, I still want to do a BSG Rewatch (as Julie describes it in her household). The thing is, there is a new, stand-alone TV movie called The Plan that is about to debut on TV (and soon, DVD). Like the other stand-alone Battlestar Galactica TV movie, Razor , this covers events that were only mentioned in passing in the regular series. So, what's the hold-up? Well, I'm considering my rewatch to be in chronological order instead of when the episodes originally aired. Geekitude is totally confirmed by th


As I frown over the news about another redundant remake in the works, I am curious if there are more remakes in the works from a certain beloved horror author. Yes, me, Mr. Anti-Remakes is curious if more remakes of Stephen King's works are in the development phase. Why so? Because many previous adaptations look incredibly cheesy today. I don't know if the remake of Ocean's Eleven is what got Hollywood into thinking that remaking/modernizing films was a good idea. (It definitely wasn't with Gus Van Sant's nearly-shot-for-shot remake of Psycho .) But as I've seen time and time again with many horror movie remakes, they just seem forgettable and rather pointless other than a quick cash-grab. While there are exceptions (I still think Rob Zombie's take on Halloween is worth exploring), I just scowl. This is mainly because the originals have held up so well over time. But in the case of films like Children of the Corn and IT , there could be so much more done

A Three-Legged Workhorse

Over the weekend, while hearing apologies from a band member in the band I watched (and enjoyed the hell out of), something hit me. Not physically, but mentally. When there's a show, there are actually two shows going on. Meaning, there's the perspective from the audience, and then there's the perspective from the band. Too often, those perspectives don't seem to cross. I've played many shows where something went wrong. That something might have been a missed musical cue or equipment issues, but rarely have I talked to an audience member that noticed the problem or thought it was a big deal. Yet when you get the band's perspective, those gaffes seemed to make the show one of the worst shows of all eternity. In the case of what I saw over the weekend, I could tell there were some issues with a guitar, the amp, and the PA. Based on the looks between members and the soundman, things seemed to be frustrating all around. But for me as a fan, that didn't hamper th

This Will Destroy You

My first B-sides feature for the Observer is now online. This one is for the instrumental rock of This Will Destroy You. This Will Destroy You Sets Out To Make A Name For Itself In One Way Or Another Comparisons to post-rock bands like Mogwai and Explosions in the Sky are easy to make when listening to This Will Destroy You's music, but don't let those comparisons fool you into thinking that this band is anything like, say, Ozma aping Weezer, for example. Read the rest here .

There's money in the banana stand

Out of all of the TV shows I've loved, my opinion of Arrested Development underwent the most dramatic turn. Watched the pilot years ago, and didn't find most of it very funny, and had no desire to watch any more episodes. Yet giving the pilot another chance a year later resulted in a quick change of opinion, and then led to watching the entire series. I was now a fan of this show that so many people I knew had praised, so I was now in the proverbial know. I, like most AD fans out there, am patiently awaiting the arrival of a full-length feature film, but frankly, when I saw Noel's mention of a documentary on the show, I became way more interested in that. Other than a few behind-the-scenes featurettes and the commentary tracks on the DVDs, there's quite a story to be told behind this show. I hear so much about what gets mangled by a TV network in order to appeal to the most amount of people, so when a show like this got on the air, there's something very peculi