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Showing posts from July, 2012

When We?

We have about a month of summer left, and despite my earlier hopes that When We Were the Kids would be out in the summer, it's been postponed until the fall. Finances are the bigger concern right now. Eating and keeping gas in my car are the bigger priorities than looking into self-publishing. As much as I know there are people that want to read my second book, this is a niche release. How some books get wide acclaim, while many others float out there to hardly any acclaim, comes down to marketing. It amazes me how books like The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo can get people like my parents to read them, but that's the power of recommendation from trusted sources. It's certainly frustrating when I read a highly-touted book and wonder, How did this get passed fickle editors and picky agents? Right now, I'm reading Justin Cronin's The Passage , a book that was highly-regarded upon release (and certainly made into an even bigger deal when its film rights sold in the s

Adopt Me!

Pet adoption is a good thing. I love dogs. I have written a lot about my beagle over the years. I happily adopted her from a Fort Worth shelter. I grew up with dogs. I took care of my previous housemate's dog for five years. I helped take care of an Akita that belonged to a New Orleans police officer for a couple of weeks after Hurricane Katrina. I love my girlfriend's dogs. And I gladly took care of my neighbors' dogs while they were out of town a month ago. But if there's one thing I cannot stand, it's seeing friends of mine on Facebook clogging up a news feed with pictures and links featuring dogs that might be put to sleep if they aren't adopted in time. I don't mean to be heartless, but I'm not so sure what "good" there is with posting picture after picture with a description like, "Scrappy needs a home by Friday or he will be put down." I understand the idea of trying to put the word out if anyone is looking for a new dog, but

In the Bright Rain

I was planning on going to see the Angelus and Crushed Stars at LaGrange as a fan. When Audra asked me to review it, I took some pictures as well. And our continuing series on Best Texas Songs continues. For this entry , I wrote about Tripping Daisy's "Waited a Light Year" and Pantera's "Walk."

My first . . .

This week's edition is with the Angelus, a band I saw open for Silver Mt. Zion a few months ago. Also, Audra wanted us writers to come up with some of the best songs by Texas artists. In this first installment , I wrote about At the Drive-In and Old 97's.

Do Your Feet Hurt?

I have to admit that I have an extremely bad habit when I go to shows: I grind the soles of my feet into the ground. The Tenacious D show was no exception, even though the ground is pretty smooth in the Palladium. I walked out of that show wondering how sore my feet would be the following morning. There have been times in the past where I would put my feet in a hot bath. Usually does the trick, but not always. Regardless, if I don't spend too much time putting a lot of weight on my feet, I'm back in the game a day later. But I ask myself why I do this. I've been to many shows over the years, and I still have a restless anticipation. I figure that's what happens when I'm in a big room filled with people I don't know. I consider it a nervous tick, like when I scratch the back of my head, feel up my chin, and invisibly trace around my chicken pox scar below my right ear. With the Tenacious D show, there were other factors: I wanted to be kinda close to the stage

I'M BUSY

Tim Kreider's editorial on "The 'Busy' Trap" continues to be on my mind, weeks after it appeared online. It's popped up in a couple of conversations I've had recently, and it's made me think about how we juggle our workload and free time, if we have any. I know people who work 60 hours a week and rarely have time to chit-chat beyond a quick e-mail or text message. I also know people work up to 80 hours a week and still have time for bikeriding and kickball. Seems like approaching someone, even a friend or family member, requires some number-crunching these days. You don't want to drag your friends down with long conversations when they're in the middle of something that has to be done quickly, but isn't it nice to just say, "How are you doing?" In the past few months, I've chosen to do this tactic: send a friend a text message saying, "When you get the chance, would you mind calling me?" Usually I get a call back

MC Egg Rubbs

Well,"wedding MC" is now something I can add to my list of experiences. I'm not sure it belongs on a resume, but if a friend or family member asked me to MC his or her reception, I'm game. After a very short ceremony and some sight-seeing around old college stomping grounds, the reception was in full swing. My job was easy, as the groom (my friend and former bandmate) had everything ready to go on his laptop. And turning on the microphone was simple: move the slider into the "On" position. The first thing I had to say was a mouthful: introduce the entire wedding party, talk up the dinner, and plug the photobooth. Aside from saying "Come on down" for the various groomsmen and bridesmaids, the only other quip I said was that guests keep their clothes on while taking pictures in the photobooth. Walking out onto the stage, I saw a sight I hadn't seen since I did stand-up comedy in elementary school: a room filled with people looking at me in sil

My first . . .

This week's edition is with Tony Ash from Trophy Wives. Not to be confused with the Dallas band of the same name, this four-piece hails from Louisville, KY. We talked about Fugazi and Black Flag, so it was an easy interview.

Scenes from a Dream Theater show

When I wrapped up my interview with John Petrucci a few weeks ago, I mentioned that their show at Verizon was going to be my first time to see the band. He sounded surprised, given how much I knew about the band's history. Well, I had my reasons. Many reasons, actually. The biggest one was how there was a tremendous gap between my initial exposure to the band and my rekindling of appreciating their music. And their vocal, fervent fans really weirded me out for years. Like a lot of people, Dream Theater came into my life with Images and Words . My enthusiasm carried over to their 1994 follow-up, Awake . Then the band slipped off my radar completely a couple of years later. I knew they were still making records, but I had no interest in hearing them. I was too much into the raw passion and melody found in pop-punk and post-hardcore than anything remotely resembling progressive rock. Dream Theater could rock, but their love of odd-time signatures and dozens of changes per song did

Three years of Victory

On this day, three years ago, I wasn't expecting to adopt a beagle. Not at all. A former neighbor of mine had a beagle and he howled constantly. As much as I loved Snoopy as a kid (and still do as an adult), I wasn't about to get a dog that always sang a B-flat. In the month I had between housemates, life felt very empty. I had spent so many of those five previous years with a terrier named Juliet. Now the house was barely half full with my stuff, awaiting Matt's arrival on the Fourth of July. Once Matt moved in, I looked into getting another dog. A trip to the Dallas SPCA was rather heart-breaking; not many dogs, and many with life-threatening conditions that required an expensive upkeep. But thanks to a friend of a friend, I was tipped off about the Humane Society in Fort Worth. Seeing a dog that I liked on a pet adoption website, I decided to make the trek out. The dog wasn't there, but Victory was. The key factor for me was that she didn't bark her head of

My first . . .

My First didn't run last week because it usually runs on Wednesday and last Wednesday was a company holiday. Plus, the band I'm featuring this week plays tonight. So without further ado, here's my interview with John Petrucci from Dream Theater.

MC

As I look forward to the fourth and final wedding I'm attending this year, I also have something else on my mind. This will be the first wedding I've MC'd. That's right, me, Master of Ceremonies at the reception. The bride-to-be asked me and I said yes without hesitation. Getting together recently with the couple, we discussed what needs to be spoken and when. Seeing as how I recently went to a wedding with a phenomenal DJ/MC, I'm going to attempt to take a lot of cues from him. If I have a script or just some copy points, I can do this. Yet speaking in front of people with a microphone is still a new thing to me. I did standup comedy in elementary school, gave funny speeches at band banquets in high school, and I once introduced the high school band at a football game. Couple that with all my years reporting traffic on the radio and hosting my own show on KTCU, I'd be comfortable in front of microphone by now. Well, I'm not. Most of the time, when you t