Gunner Palace

This looks like a movie worth checking out: Gunner Palace (watch the trailer). It’s a documentary about the Iraq war from the soldier’s perspective.

I don’t remember seeing popular culture engage the first Gulf War the way they are the second. If I remember, Three Kings seemed to be one of the first movies about the first Gulf War. I have to believe there were others, I just never heard about them.

But this time around entertainers (and I use that word loosely) are using the Iraq war much sooner. I suppose a documentary is a poor example, but I’ve seen lots of other fictional works using the war. Last week’s episode of E.R. being a prime example.

I’m not sure what that says about the conflict. I didn’t pay attention the first time around? More people are willing to question this war? More people are willing to examine this war? It’s dragging on longer and making more of an impact?

I’m a Geek

For some time now I’ve had recurring dreams about high school. It’s usually some sort of trauma-inducing scenario, like my old high school was remodeled and now I can’t find my classes and I get lost and end up in the wrong place. Utter embarrassment results every time.

Sometimes there are extra twists, like I lost my glasses and am slowly going blind, or I can’t remember my schedule, or I lost my homework or something. But it’s always high school.

High school for me was the epitome of social awkwardness. Nothing captures that feeling better than the short-lived TV series Freaks and Geeks. Yesterday my wife and I watched the first episode again, and the pain was palpable. The gym class awkwardness, the intimidation of older, bigger students, the outsider status.

Some people say high school is the best four years of your life. I think people who say that should be committed.

Supertones Sit Back

Following in the footsteps of Five Iron Frenzy (quite literally), the Supertones will be calling it quits by the end of the year, taking 2005 to say goodbye. The article reveals their financial woes thanks to a manager stealing from them, an upcoming worship project and their greatest hits project, Unite (which includes rerecordings of the songs “O.C. Supertones” and “Adonai” from their original album).


2005_02_25ilego.jpgHow cool is this? PodBrix (I’m assuming that’s pronounced Pod-Bricks–I’m not always up on my IM-speak) are custom Lego figures inspired by iPod commercials. The guy paints Legos and sells them. The first one (the silhouette, to the right) sold in under ten hours. The second one, Steve Jobs giving a Keynote, sold out in under 36 minutes (and my friend Josh nabbed one).

Based on his $16.99 price and limit of 300 units, the artist is grossing $5,000 on each set. I’m sure hand-painting 300 Legos takes a lot of time, and there’s probably a number of expenses (Legos ain’t cheap), but grossing $10,000 in a month is pretty sweet (I could bury a lot of student loans if my novel sold that well). And if it’s such a simple idea that you could do it, why haven’t you?

Guard Dog

Check out the Oscar-nominated Guard Dog (supposedly available for today only on, which means you’ll probably need to watch a short commercial to get free access to the site). It’s only 5 minutes long and well worth your time. It gives keen insight into the often troubling question of why on earth my dog barks at the stupidest things. It’s morbidly hilarious.

Arcade Fire @ The Roxy

From Believer magazine:

“The Arcade Fire consists of a group of startled young North American citizens who probably had little idea that Funeral, the album they created and assembled for Merge Records in 2004, would generate a storm front of such magnitude in the world of popular music. … I first saw the Arcade Fire in Cambridge at the front end of their tour, just before they began moving their shows to larger venues, but after word about Funeral had spread. They played on a stage that was approximately the size of a napkin, in a club that was exactly the size of a restaurant-style napkin holder. To say ‘the club was packed’ would do a grave injustice to the people who survived the event, each of whom is now more aware than ever of the full spectrum of scents it is possible for a human body to spurt from its pores when under duress. There was a palpable tension in the air, as though something dangerous or terrible was about to happen.”

Now that’s a concert review. And it goes on from there, including one of my favorite lines, “…but the woman was already staring straight ahead, balancing on tiptoe, straining for a glimpse of the band through the humid thicket of contemporary American haircuts.”

Dave Eggers Interview

The Onion interviews Dave Eggers (only it’s a serious interview), the man behind McSweeney’s and author of A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. After that book exploded, Eggers wanted to tone things back for his next book, You Shall Know Our Velocity, which made for an interesting publishing story:

O: The decision to initially market You Shall Know Our Velocity solely through your website and through independent bookstores caused a significant ripple in the publishing industry. What are your thoughts now about how that situation played out?

DE: We thought it was great. I wanted to write and publish a book, but I didn’t want any of the hoopla that came with the first book. I didn’t do any interviews, but I did tour. I was like, “Is it possible to write a book without everything else that comes with it? Can I just go out and meet my peers, sign books, and go home?” So we printed 50,000 copies and gave them to the independent bookstores that we worked with, to reward the indies and keep the whole process under control. And we think it worked really well. We sold all the copies, and the bookstores were very happy, because it drew in new customers.

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