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Madness & Make-Believe
In the Hills by the Bay
03/13/09 at 01:23 PM by themadsilentist
Would you look at that. I am officially employed - and full-time, at that. Benefits will be great...I've never sold garden paraphernalia before, but I'm sure it's a decent gig. Now all I have to do is train myself back into a normal sleep schedule.
(Being mostly nocturnal by nature is sort of a bitch, really. Left to my own designs, I tend to get to sleep around 3-4am and wake up anywhere between 10 and 1 - which is why theatre seemed like a great major in college. Have I mentioned that my last job nearly drove me batshit insane? Yeah, I was a baker. Bakers, as a rule, arrive at work around 4am. Talk about a bad idea.)
Oh, and this was the first and only interview I'd had in weeks. Up until this morning I was seriously considering what I own that I could sell for rent this month (verdict: my bass & amp or one of my cameras), or where I might go if I couldn't scrape up the cash. I seem to be incredibly lucky when it comes to finding jobs at the last possible moment...knock on wood. Roxy, my zebra-striped darling, you are safe for now.

Anyway, moving on.
Sweet deal, that Matchbook reunion, eh? Very cool, I can't wait to see what they do. I enjoyed Stories & Alibis more than most AP members, it seems. Will be waiting eagerly for their first California show.

I sent in a couple reviews yesterday (Oh No Not Stereo and the Besties), so I will link as usual when they are up. For now, though, I must bid you adieu - time for work!

Until the future,
Lauren.

(Oh and PS - my story is this week's AbsoluteINK piece and sadly has gotten very little love. I welcome feedback, positive or negative! Help a sister out.)
Tags: personal, matchbook romance, absoluteink
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Watchmen & assorted recommendations
03/09/09 at 03:07 PM by themadsilentist
It's so fucking lovely here today. Seriously, if it were ten degrees warmer I'd think I went to sleep in March and woke up in June. And - for the first time since I graduated high school - I'm actually looking forward to warmer weather.
I have a job interview this week. I'm pretty good at those, you get a lot of audition training in a theatre major, which takes the pressure off to some extent. It's for a cashier spot at a local nursery/garden store (so glad I went to college), but it's full time, which means I will not be broke and I can look more seriously at apartments in the city. And I don't mind cashiering. You never really have to make a connection with anyone for more than 30 seconds.

Anyway...I went and saw Watchmen on Saturday night. (Spoiler alert, by the way.) I generally tend to go into comic movies with low expectations - and the fact that they handed this, one of my favorite graphic novels, to a man whose directorial resume consists of 300, a Dawn of the Dead remake, and a handful of car commercials, made Saturday no different. (Seriously though, Zack Snyder? Give me a fucking break. The man hasn't earned the right to stand within 500 feet of a Watchmen script, let alone direct it.)
That said...at this point, I'm pretty ambivalent about the movie (which is in itself something of a condemnation, as there's no way Watchmen should produce ambivalence in any form). Jackie Earle Haley (Rorschach) and Jeffrey Morgan (the Comedian) were both absolutely perfect for their roles, no complaints there. I actually liked Matthew Goode as Veidt/Ozy more than I thought I would - he's nowhere near as bulky as Ozy is in the novel, obviously, but he brought a certain subtlety to the character that I enjoyed. Akerman as Laurie was entirely mediocre.
What I liked about the story - the change in the ending, I thought, was handled well for the most part - in a way that wouldn't leave those who haven't read the book thinking "what the hell?" My only two gripes are: first, what was the deal with Laurie kissing the Doc as he disappears into the ether? Completely unnecessary, sappy bullshit for the mainstream audience. And second, giving Laurie the Doc's "nothing ever ends" line was also bullshit. Disappointing. The rest of the story was decent, though - I liked that Snyder didn't take too many liberties with Rorschach's diary/inner monologue. Ditto for staying true to a lot of the imagery from the comic. The gore was a little excessive, though, and I normally have no problems with that kind of thing (I adored every minute of Sin City, for example). The actual visuals of bones popping through flesh or a convict getting his arms sawed off were not needed. Same goes for that oddly extended sex scene between Laurie and Dan. Again, no problems with graphic material on my part, but most of that was unnecessary as well.
Bottom line, I'd give it a B- or possibly a strong C+. I'll probably go see it again just to absorb everything properly and I may have more comments after that, but for the moment, color me underwhelmed. It's worth seeing on the big screen, but my recommendation would be - don't go see it as Watchmen: the adaptation. See it as Watchmen: the movie that happens to be strangely similar to a graphic novel you once read/heard about. (Yes, I realize this is impossible for fans of the novel.)

Recs for the week:
I already pushed Great Northern, but their new album is so good, so I'm mentioning them again: April 28th (I put the wrong date in my previous entry), Remind Me Where The Light Is.
Oh No Not Stereo's latest, 003, is also worth checking out - solid, bouncy pop-rock (not the most original, but still worth a listen at least).
(Will be reviewing both of the above for the Owl when I stop procrastinating, by the way.)
Dizzy Balloon is touring with the Jakes again and both bands put on an absolutely killer live show, so if you're in CA/AZ or planning on attending SXSW, check them out and say hi to Robbie for me.
And last but not least, Metric leaked. Not that I'm advocating piracy or anything, but if you download one album illegally this week, snag that one.

Until the future,
Lauren.
Tags: personal, watchmen, recs
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It's Not Real
03/06/09 at 03:00 PM by themadsilentist
Oh, look. I'm sick again.
Annoyingly enough, I have been sick more often this winter than any I can remember. And my memory may be sketchy but it still extends back to the days when I couldn't be trusted to bring notes home from school unless they were safety-pinned to my awesome dinosaur jacket. I think this is probably my immune system's way of telling me to eat and sleep like a normal person. Fuck you, immune system. You haven't done shit for me lately except roll over and let those godawful rhinoviruses have their way with you.

On the bright side, the new Great Northern album came in the mail today, and it is delicious. Will definitely be a fun review to write - I highly recommend picking it up when it drops (April 21st, I believe). Plus, I still have half of Lost season 4 and all of the current one to catch up on, so I suppose things could be worse.

Anyway, my review of Telefon Tel Aviv's Immolate Yourself is up on the Owl. See if you can figure out which parts are mine and which are my editor's irritatingly clumsy (and, please note, unapproved by yours truly) changes. It's fun!

-Lauren.
Tags: personal, great northern, telefon tel aviv, owl mag
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Video: new Matches songs
03/02/09 at 05:07 PM by themadsilentist
Wicked Walk:

[google]-5783631432040700892&hl=en[/google]

It's My Day:

[google]7719716115433473607&hl=en[/google]
Tags: the matches, new songs, video
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Noise Pop in review
03/02/09 at 02:31 PM by themadsilentist
First things first, I give you a video of Audrye Sessions performing "New Year's Day" at Bottom of the Hill last week.



I wish I had gotten "Nothing Pure Can Stay," as it was definitely the best single-song performance I have ever seen from Audrye, hands down. Ah well. My live review still isn't up on the Owl Mag either (tsk tsk), but it may have been a bit short anyway. I wrote it on a Muni bus on the way to a party. Maybe I'll put it up here later with my Telefon Tel Aviv and Oh No Not Stereo pieces.

The only other Noise Pop show I made it to this year was the Matches with Dizzy Balloon on Saturday. Dizzy rocked it for the most part, but it seemed like a rare off day for them. The Matches, of course, were fabulous. It's great to see Dylan finally settling into the band and it definitely shows in their performance - Saturday's set felt more comfortable (from an audience perspective) than any I've seen since Justin left. They played two new songs as well - "Wicked Walk" and "It's My Day" - both of which make me entirely excited for the next album. We've been speculating about "It's My Day" for a while so I suspect it's an A Band In Hope-era tune, but "Wicked Walk" has a very Zebrahead feel to it. Definitely cannot wait for a studio version of that one. (I'm in the process of uploading videos of both of these, will post when they're done.)

-Lauren.
Tags: noise pop, audrye sessions, the matches, new songs
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Here's a story, and it's true.
02/26/09 at 07:38 PM by themadsilentist
I promised I would blog about the psycho bus woman, so here goes.
Last week I went to San Francisco. From where I live (a little more than an hour from the city by car), this trek takes anywhere from four to six hours on and around public transit. It is not a journey to be undertaken without a fully charged iPod, a book or two and preferably some sort of hip flask. Suffice it to say, you will meet crazy people.

This trip is my first in quite a while. The first bus I catch - from where I live to Santa Rosa - is nearly empty, except for a handful of passengers. In the back of the bus, however, is a forty-something white woman and her boyfriend, who looks like a lost member of G-Unit. With them, they have what seems to be the contents of a small apartment in various containers and bags, including four cats. Intrigued, I sit down a few rows away with my headphones on and Thursday playing very quietly, in order to better observe these clearly insane people.
A few minutes into my ride, the woman takes out her cell phone and begins having an extremely loud and animated conversation. This would be fairly standard fare, except for the fact that she keeps spouting racial slurs about Mexican immigrants, a few of whom are on the bus with us. After five minutes' worth of eavesdropping, I write her off as nothing more than a crazy racist bitch, and turn up my headphones. It is merely by chance that I happen to glance over as she hangs up - only to notice a gaping hole in the back of the cell phone where a battery should be. Holy shit. Crazy racist bitch just got upgraded to very crazy racist bitch.
The trip goes on without further incident and I hop off at the transit mall to grab a drink before my connecting bus to the city arrives. When I return from the nearby deli, of course, there is the C.R.B. - ranting at the top of her lungs in the general direction of her boyfriend and another hapless bystander. I tune her out again. Eventually she and her man start shifting their belongings across the transit mall, and the kid she's been ranting at wanders over and sits down next to me. Unable to contain my curiosity, I turn to him and ask what her deal was.
The kid laughs. Apparently this woman has mistaken him for someone she knows from the east coast. She had been ranting about (and this is where it gets fun) how she "discovered" Jay-Z, Michael Vick (?!?), Mac Dre, and T.I., and been screwed out of her "distribution rights" or something of the sort. I remark on the fact that public transit is always a magnet for freaks, and we end up talking about the meth problem in Norcal for a little while. Eventually the kid looks up and groans quietly - C.R.B. is coming back with her boyfriend in tow, waving. I realize why this woman seems so spastic to me - on top of the hyperactive manner of speech, she carries herself with a full-on rapper's stage persona, like she's channeling 90's-era Diddy. Not all that common to see in 40-something white women, at least around here. She reaches our bench and, ignoring me, begins going off about how glad she is to have met up with the kid again. He smiles uncomfortably, and the woman segues into another rant about how she is heading back to Los Angeles to "sort out the shit between the Bloods and the Crips," because she "can't deal with it anymore." Mac Dre is mentioned, and at this point, I am biting my tongue to hold back the laughter. My new friend says something about the guy who killed Mac Dre, and C.R.B. leans in very seriously. In the tone of someone who fully expects to be hailed as the next Deep Throat, she tells him, "A couple of my homeboys capped Mac Dre." I am dying, fighting back tears, paying attention to anyone and anything that will help me keep my mouth shut and hoping the insane grin on my face isn't as obvious as I know it must be. C.R.B. appears not to notice as she scrawls a phone number on a piece of paper, telling my friend that it will get him in touch with a big-time LA producer. Her hands are shaking so much she can barely write. Finally, she bids him goodbye and drags her silent companion back across the mall. We manage to stay composed for a full fifteen seconds, long enough for a bus to pull up and block us from view, before we completely lose our shit and begin laughing hysterically.

I love public transit.

-Lauren.
Tags: public transit
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Beware the Rabid Mongoon
02/23/09 at 02:51 PM by themadsilentist
So I'm 22 now. Hooray.
My birthday was very low-key, which I always prefer. I'd been planning on hitting the streets in San Francisco with the little sis and best friend, but something came up for him and it ended up pouring all day, so we just went for margaritas and saw He's Just Not That Into You (better than expected, by the way) with our parents. All in all it was probably a better move, we will save the drunken debauchery until next weekend when she turns 19 and everyone's in town for a proper shindig. I love the fact that my sister and I are only six days apart, birthday-wise. It makes the whole week between us feel like a half-celebration.
Eventually I will get around to blogging about the insane woman I met in the transit mall on my way to the city last Thursday, because she was easily one of the three craziest people I have ever come across on public transit. It'll be entertaining. At the moment, though, I must guiltily race through and finish the three reviews I neglected in favor of adventures this weekend. (Still polishing the Telefon Tel Aviv bit, and have not even started the Besties or Oh No Not Stereo. I'm a bad person...oh well. Audrye Sessions live review should be up on the Owl site soon, at least.)

-Lauren.

PS. If you were wondering, a mongoon has been revealed to be a rather confused hybrid of mongoose and monsoon. Illustration to follow when I am inspired and less busy.
Tags: personal, birthday, mongoon
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Inches and Failing
02/17/09 at 03:24 AM by themadsilentist
So I had this whole blog going last night about how fifteen-year-olds tell strangers on the internet far too much about their personal lives. I thought it was a pretty inspiring rant, actually. Well, maybe not inspiring, but cathartic in some small way. There was even a James Frey reference. Anyway, it's a moot point because our power and therefore my wireless router/internet died at the exact instant I hit "post," abandoning my insightful blog somewhere in the ether between "written" and "posted." Tragic. Oh well.

I turn 22 this weekend.
I am planning on celebrating in the city with my little sister and my best friend and I am thrilled. After everything that has happened in the past several weeks, it will be a refreshing change to spend time with perhaps the only two people who make absolutely no demands of me, besides being myself. I plan on being very drunk at least once, seeing some very talented bands, and enjoying myself thoroughly.

"Interesting" blog post to follow. Probably.

-Lauren.
Tags: personal
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All That I Do Comes Back to You
02/15/09 at 02:01 AM by themadsilentist
Tonight I am four years in the past. Thinking about "us" like it wasn't the stupidest thing we ever did. But it's late, and for so long my nights belonged to him. I still flash back to kissing him in the middle of the road in the wee hours - our hearts racing, Jimmy Eat World echoing from the headphones on the asphalt beside us. Clarity makes me think of him. Cars would flash past every fifteen minutes or so and we'd dive into the bushes, laughing breathlessly as we fumbled with each other's clothes in the heady summer darkness. We didn't wake up together even once; the affair was one born of shared and lonesome midnights. When I fell asleep on the couch in the basement he'd leave, as per our unspoken agreement. And when it went sour, it almost killed both of us, but sometimes I wonder.
What if.
Tags: personal
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Noise Pop: Industry Noise
02/12/09 at 03:19 PM by themadsilentist
I will be attending. Panels with all kinds of local industry names - although I'm most excited to see Miles "the Wizard" Hurwitz (the Matches' mentor) talking about his management style. Should be interesting. Let me know if you're going to be there, I'll probably be the one looking awkward and out of place.
Tags: noise pop
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It's a Good Start.
02/12/09 at 02:15 PM by themadsilentist
I've already expressed my opinion of Alt Press here, so I won't go into that. But opening the March issue and seeing a full page dedicated to Audrye Sessions in the "AP recommends" section is the best thing I've seen that magazine do since I started reading it. There aren't many underground bands that deserve to make it more than Audrye. Hopefully this will get them the attention they need.
Tags: ap, audrye sessions
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You're a Mess, But I Like You That Way
02/09/09 at 02:00 PM by themadsilentist
What a coincidence, I go to write something about the rumored Matchbook Romance reunion and "Goody, Like Two Shoes" comes up on shuffle. Nice. Anyway, all I have to say about that is that it's an exciting possibility. Skipping out on seeing MBR when I had the chance is one of my bigger musical regrets of the past few years.

Still working on my AbsoluteInk piece. Some of it hit a little too close to home and I decided to make a few revisions before I send it in. It's good, though, I like it. Hopefully it will be posted. I don't really tend to put a lot of personal writing out there, mostly because I look back at it weeks/months/years later and think "Oh god, what the hell was wrong with me." (See: my old high school's art & poetry zine, issues 3 & 4.)

I've been looking at apartments in San Francisco - mostly in the Potrero Hill and Sunset districts. I'm leaning towards Sunset - it's not really one of my favorite parts of the city, but I know all kinds of people at SF State/in the general vicinity, and it'd be close to my little sister. Plus it's a college area so it's a little cheaper. Potrero Hill, on the other hand, is a bitchin' neighborhood. It's pricier, and a little out of the way. (If I lived there, though, I could hang out at Bottom of the Hill and pretend to be a hipster all the time. Ace!) Haight is another possibility, but the apartment/roomies would have to be perfect. And either way it's exciting. I've wanted to live in San Francisco forever.

Anyway, time to get my baby girl ready to go to the vet. I'm worried about her, she's limping like crazy and she's been acting strange for days. Hope there's nothing seriously wrong...

Insightful and mind-blowing music-related blog coming soon, for sure.
-Lauren.
Tags: matchbook romance, personal, san francisco, my cat is adorable
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Twix: Enabling Assholes Since 2001
02/07/09 at 02:26 AM by themadsilentist
Anyone else find those "Need a Moment" commercials to be incredibly stupid?
Maybe it's a girl thing, I dunno.

Anyway, I read back over some of my more recent blogs and decided that they bore me. So...I'll work on that. Think I'm going to be relocating to San Francisco sooner rather than later. Adventures shall ensue.

Recommendations for the week:
Marvelous 3 (speaking of, last.fm lists Drake Bell as a "similar artist." L-O-friggin'-L.)
Saves the Day's Bug Sessions
Tom Goes To The Mayor
Transmetropolitan (seriously cannot hype this comic enough.)

Until the future,
Lauren.
Tags: twix, recs, i realize i am boring
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Go Carefully
02/05/09 at 03:09 PM by themadsilentist
Against my better judgment, I requested press passes to the AP Tour (yeah, I know) and the Gaslight Anthem (slightly redeeming, I hope). I'd like to see Hit the Lights, though. (For the record, I would never ever pay to see a lineup as hideous as this year's tour, but getting in free, well...it's still a tossup, honestly.) But the Grand has a bar conveniently located in their 21+ balcony, so at least I can drink my way through the rest of the show and sneer down at the clusterfuck of scene kids in relative peace. I'm still trying to reconcile the fact that I'll be in the same building as 3Oh!3 and the Maine...so if I get arrested, at least you'll know who gave John Ohhhhhhhh that amazing shiner. (JK?)

Moving on to matters of real music...Gomez has the first single from their upcoming album available for free download (here) and I hope everyone will check it out. It is beyond catchy, as usual.
Show-wise, I'll be seeing Audrye Sessions/As Tall As Lions and The Swellers in the next few weeks, as well as a couple of Noisepop shows (The Matches/Dizzy Balloon and hopefully Dave Smallen opening up for Josh Ritter) and possibly even Thursday in San Jose. That one's a big maybe, though, as I hate San Jose and tend to avoid going there if at all possible. Anyway, if you're local and planning to be at any of those shows, find me and say hi.

-Lauren.

PS - Telefon Tel Aviv and The Besties reviews for the Owl this week - will post when they're done. Exciting.
Tags: Shows, Gomez
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Fun with Television
01/29/09 at 03:22 PM by themadsilentist
Just a few thoughts while I'm sitting here watching TV and sounding like a small child choking on a rattlesnake...(I'm sick. Again. This is ridiculous.)

- What the hell happened to Fuse? I used to be able to watch No. 1 Countdown (the Rock version, anyway) without gagging. I turned it on today to see Mudvayne, band that sounds like Mudvayne, Disturbed, and singer-who-sounds-like-Scott-Stapp-and-Chad-Kroeger-had-a-lovechild. I could program that shit. All you need: three videos involving a dead chick in a white dress and too much eye makeup, one vaguely homemade-looking performance video, three videos involving a band performing against a stereotypically apocalyptic background, and three videos involving the eyelinered lead singer looking "pretty" and tormented and probably ignoring some hot chick so he can make far too much eye contact with the camera.
I would much rather have the programming from my high school days back. Even seeing the video for that Good Charlotte anti-suicide song would be better than this.

- I've noticed, recently, that a few companies have been pushing TV ads that involve actors whose faces are completely hidden/in shadow. As a student of theatre, my education has deeply ingrained a few things in me, and one of those things is this: shadows = darkness = bad. Any time you intentionally underlight someone, any time you cover most of their face with anything that isn't a mask, it's a (conscious or unconscious) indication that something is not quite right with this character or what this character is doing. The fact that a company pushing financial services - I can't remember which company it is, but I'm fairly sure it's a tax debt service of some kind - would intentionally obscure the face of the person making a testimonial on their behalf goes against everything I've learned. People take so much of what they perceive from facial cues, from a person's eyes, that I simply can't fathom why an ad exec would do that.
Just something I've been mulling over. (If you know more about advertising than I do and can shed some light on this, by all means, I would love to hear it.)

-Lauren.
Tags: TV
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