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Showing posts from October, 2009

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 ten

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 t

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 plays a

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 ho

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 in

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 a bo

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 metaph


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, gi

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 .