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Showing posts from July, 2010

Public Relations

It's no secret in our house that Matt likes Mad Men . Up until last Sunday, he had seen every episode from the first two seasons, but had yet to see a single episode from the third season. As a way of cramming in order to stay current with the fourth season, he rented the third season on DVD and finished watching it last night. He asked me to DVR "Public Relations" on Sunday and wanted to watch it last night. Sitting on the couch in the TV room as he asked to watch it, I decided to say hell to canon, watching an entire series from the beginning, and asking questions, and just watched the episode with him. That's right, me, Mr. Must Watch Every Episode In Order jumped past three whole seasons of a critically-acclaimed show and wanted to see an episode of Mad Men . I think I kinda understood what Diana went through when she watched LOST for the first time, starting with the final season. I think there's a lot of value in watching an episode from a show not really k

In the high school halls

Work on When We Were the Kids inches closer to a first draft status. Looks like my September 15th goal is still a great possibility as I work on it some on some days and a lot on other days. The thing that keeps driving me to come up with new stories and ideas for stories is the desire to tell this story as all-encompassing as much as I can. If something that happened recently at a show reminds me of something similar to my high school experience in bands, then it's put into consideration for the book. Here's a glimpse into how the creative process gets going, using a recent example. A few weeks ago, I watched an excellent documentary on Rush called Beyond the Lighted Stage . If you're a fan of Rush, then I highly, highly recommend checking out the DVD. It's a very thorough and never-boring look at the Canadian trio's career. As I watched the documentary and thought about the documentary, I kept thinking about how teenagers at my school got into the band. There was

Online and in print

In the print edition, I have an article on the New Pornographers, while this week's edition of Staff Trax is devoted to Coliseum, and I saw Silversun Pickups and Against Me! last night.

Don't blame the Cookie Monster

I've come to accept the fact that random musings about the Cookie Monster are bound to come into my head at any time. Lately, it's been about the whole, "let's make Cookie Monster eat fruit so he doesn't make kids obese" angle they went with a few years ago. Since I heard about this, I think people should not blame the Cookie Monster. He's innocent of any crime. I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't like cookies. Cookies are great, and they're not something truly harmful like cigarettes or heroin. (I don't think Heroin Monster or Smoke Monster would fly on Sesame Street anyway.) There are understandable reasons to think there might be a potential harm in having a character on a kid's show devour cookies at any time of day or night. Then again, this is a monster that's blue and fuzzy with buggly eyes. How can that be a bad influence? He's already crazy, so why do adults think kids are going to take after him? It's like how Garfi

Free show

Over the weekend, in preparation for the Dallas Observer Music Awards, there was a lengthy showcase devoted to bands that were nominated. I reviewed three sets, all at different venues and for completely different acts. Needless to say, as much as I had fun with Diana as my plus-one, we didn't spend a lot of time on our feet yesterday. As we walked up and heard the Secret Machines rock the you-kn0w-what out on "Lightning Blue Eyes," the tone of the rest of evening was bands, bands, bands. In a way, with our pink wristbands on our right hands, I thought we were at a mini-SXSW. At some point, I thought about the privileges that my friends with SXSW badges have every year and compared them to what we had with our wristbands. Basically, we got into any of the sponsoring venues for free and could come and go as we pleased. That leads me to something I remembered Jim DeRogatis told me about how he reviews shows. He's never forgotten what it was like to pay good money to se

Crutch Words

There are times that listening to yourself interview someone is as bad as (if not worse than) listening to yourself talk on an answering machine. I have yet to meet anyone who is completely fine with his or her's voice. For whatever reason, there's something wrong with it and there's a level of embarrassment in hearing it. What's worse, though, is hearing yourself repeat words over and over again. These are, in the words of a fellow reporter friend, called crutch words. Over the weekend, I transcribed an interview I conducted for an upcoming Observer article. While listening to the twenty minutes of me talking to a musician known almost around the world, it's very obvious that I am a) nervous about talking to a musician I greatly admire, b) nervous about asking a stupid question, and c) nervous that this interview will not result in a decent article about a band I've liked for many years. What do I say waaaaaayyyy too much? "Yeah," "I gotcha,&quo

Ten Minutes

These days, I come up with more potential stories for When We Were the Kids than recipes for dinner. Granted, I thought more about Post than dinner options while I worked on that as well. It's not like I don't take dinner seriously; I tend to have the same things over and over again at home, until I get sick of them (or literally get sick and permanently lose the taste of them, like crab cakes). Since I usually cook for myself, there's no gripes about having pizza, tomato bisque soup with a bagel, or breakfast tacos every week. That said, I'm more than happy to try something different whenever a good idea strikes. Whenever Diana and I can, we like to make dinner together. Last night, we tried out making a version of veggie tacos loosely based on the Black Bean Fiesta that Stevie made a while ago. My own version of breakfast tacos came from this recipe (as well as Robert Rodriguez's breakfast taco recipe), so I thought about applying some things with black beans,

Let Me In

Sometimes there are reminders that there is a world outside of those who talk the most openly on the Internet. A recent example comes in the form of the forthcoming film, Let Me In . If you believe the world is filled with people who leave comments on posts or message boards, then it's pretty safe to say that the Swedish film Let the Right One In is one of the greatest, most amazing, most awesome, frightening, gorgeous, and bad-ass films involving teenagers and vampires. There's no debate: it rules and it will be one of the greatest films for the rest of eternity. That is, until a surge of people bad-mouth it on the Internet and turn the tide. But seriously, Let the Right One In is also a film that not that many people have seen, outside of the world of people who are really into films. (Mom? Dad? Susan? Matt? Diana's probably heard of it, but I don't think she's seen it.) After reading an interview with Matt Reeves, the director of Let Me In (which is also base


Something I absolutely love about my gig at the Observer is getting to cover shows that I would have paid to see. This past weekend, the Warped Tour came through town and I had a blast. After three Warped dates between 1998 and this year, I think I finally got to see how good the festival can be. My first Warped was spent inside the Astroarena due to the threat of rain. According to the members of NOFX, the sound was horrible, so they threw their $5,000 payment for the day into the crowd. I didn't mind the sound and didn't think NOFX was throwing real money away. Turns out they were. Seeing the surge of folks running towards the stage made me realize that as much people debate what punk is or isn't on message boards and e-mail discussion lists, when there's free money, everyone wants it. Last year's Warped was more or less a writing assignment. I was asked to cover the show and I didn't object. I wasn't planning on going to the show, but when an editor bel