Gosh, it’s hot! Three days at the Austin City Limits Music Festival

Ten days on, I still have the last remnants of a heat rash–what was once thirty-nine terrible zits–on my forehead.  I’ve given myself time to digest the events of my weekend at ACL Fest, and I am ready to tell you, the reading public, if sending $130 on passes is worth it.

In a word: maybe.

“Everybody festivals differently,” a wise person told me the day after ACL.  And while I had no idea you could use “festival” as a verb, it makes sense.  I think the festivals worth is up to you and how you approach the weekend.  My friend Clinton, who was probably the first to arrive and the last to leave each day and ran from one stage to another like a chicken with its head cut off probably got the most bang for his buck out of all of us.  A lot of folks, however, seemed content to set up a chair in front of one stage and sit there for three days, missing out on roughly 97% of the bands playing.  I’d say that’s not getting your dollar’s worth.  Hell, one guy who set up camp in front of us on Friday stayed for three bands and then left!

But hey, it’s not like I bought his ticket.  Who am I to judge?  I even collapsed in a camping chair now and then, when I wasn’t too busy bitching about how un-cool they were.  Newsflash: like most humans, I can be hypocritical now and then.

So I’ll probably go back next year.  I might even buy those stupid passes that go on sale before the line up is announced.  And if the line up isn’t so hot, well that’s why they invented ebay.

I figured I would leave you with my five favorite sets from the festival.  I was pleasantly surprised to find these in an order other than what I’d expected.

ACL 2007 Best Sets

1. Yo La Tengo
2. Butch Walker and the Let’s Go Out Tonights
3. The Arcade Fire
4. Pete Yorn
5. Ben Kweller


The slow, painful destruction of my body

Something interesting happened when I moved to Texas in 1999: my body started falling apart.  I was actually in good shape at the time, but almost immediately after my relocation, my body started to suffer various ailments from sleeping.  That’s right… sleeping. 

At the tender age of 22, I started waking up in the middle of the night because my arms were falling asleep.  This has remained a regular thing over the last eight years, and I’ve accepted it as a part of the aging process.  It’s a shitty part of that process, and for all I know it might actually mean I’m dying of blood parasites or something, but I’ve learned to live with it.

Then the pain started.

On nights when I’m not waking up to curl and uncurl my fists in order to bring some sort of feeling back into one arm or the other, I’m waking up to turn over because the side I’m laying on is aching.  Not fun.  And it wakes Shawna and the dogs up.  And it hurts.

And then there was last night, when I woke up two hours after I went to sleep with a throbbing pain in the base of my spine.  I turned onto my left side, which woke me up two hours later as it began to ache.  The next three hours were a constant routine of trying to find a non-painful position and failing each time.  Now I’ve been awake for more than an hour, and I’m still in pain.  I hate this.  In five years, I’ll probably wake up crippled.  Won’t that be fun?

Here endeth the self-pity.

ACL Fest: Am I getting my money’s worth?

This weekend, I will be attending the three day Austin City Limits Festival for the first time.  It should be a blast, and I’m very much looking forward to it.  That said, I’ve never spent $130 on a concert ticket ($140 after shipping), so I wanted to break it down and see how much bang my buck is giving me.

Rumors that this is simply an easy way to write a blog entry are unfounded.


First day of the festival.  It’s an important day, because it really sets the tone.  Who will I be seeing on this fabled day?

Joseph Arthur (possibly) – I’m not that aware of the guy’s stuff, but he’s worked with Greg Dulli a lot, and that usually spells out quality.
Pete Yorn – I’ve wanted to see Pete Yorn ever since his first record came out, but I always seem to be busy when he floats through town.  Well, not this time buddy!
Crowded House – Just a nostalgia trip, but a fun one!
LCD Soundsystem – I’m very curious.  Sounds like a great time, and a fun escape from what I’ll have seen up to that point.
Queens of the Stone Age – Love their stuff.  Should be great.
The Killers – Wouldn’t miss this one for the world.

Total Band Count: five or six.  We’ll call it five.


Butch Walker – Looks like my day starts pretty late.  After five, even.  May have to go earlier and just browse a bit.
Muse – Saw them once, and I can’t wait to see them again.
Arcade Fire – This is what my festival is about.  Been looking forward to seeing them for a long time.  After this set, I’ll run over to catch the end of…
The White Stripes – And why the hell not?

Total Band Count: 8.5


Yo La Tengo – And that’s it.  There are plenty more I might check out, but this is the only one I’m making plans to see.

Total Band Count: 9.5

Price paid per band: $14.74

That’s not that bad, and when you factor in the other bands I’ll probably check out along the way, it’s a great price.  So yeah, I think I’m getting my money’s worth.  Whew!  What a relief!

Aborted Projects

I thought this might be a fun topic.  I’m sure every writer out there has a slew of half-written projects lying around, discarded or set aside for one reason or another.  I figured you might enjoy a look at some of the things I started and then tossed out in my short tenure as young writer.

FOR YOU – A Horror screenplay about a college student stalked by a psychopath.  Two drafts completed, then tossed away because it was just a basic slasher film.

AFTER MIDNIGHT – Same deal, only set in high school.

STRANDED – Another screenplay.  Four high school kids stranded at a rest stop furing a storm are stalked by a psychopath.  I never said I started out with original ideas.

ALMOST BULLETPROOF – Screenplay, then comic book.  Romantic comedy about a loser kidnapped by a beautiful bankrobber.  Always fell apart about halfway through.

DOC’S – The last screenplay.  Empire Records set in a restaurant.  I loved the characters, and it had some great stuff in it, but it’s still Empire Records set in a restaurant.

GREEN RIVER – Comic book, then novel.  Four friends stab each other in the back after a backwoods heist goes wrong.  The first issue was written, then I decided to turn it into a novel rather than search for an artist.  Sadly, I hadn’t even completed a short story yet.  The results were as bad as you’d think.

TO THE LAST MAN – Comic book, then novella. A revenge story/action piece.  Always fell apart in the third act.

THE PROGRAM – Worked very briefly with Randy Lander on a comic pitch about a villain serving his community service on a super hero team.  Still a good idea, and I’ll probably have to rope Randy back into it sooner or later.  Then again, these things rarely work outside of Marvel or DC.

SAVAGE TOM – Comic book.  An Old West horror story.  Y’know, maybe I’ll get back to this sooner or later.

THE STARECROWS – Novel.  Really, the less you know about this one, the better.  Shitty with a capital SHITTY.

Nate attends a fantasy football draft so you don’t have to.

That’s right, friends and neighbors. Even after last year’s terrible screed against fantasy football, I decided to attend the draft held at my girlfriend’s parents’ house. Why did I do this? Well, I could say it was in the interest of journalism or in service of mankind. That, however, would be a lie. I did it because it involved both free food and free booze, and because the Interdiction chapter of GTA San Andreas is kicking my ass.

That said, I do hope to better mankind through this blog (As well as boost my book sales. Check out the fucking bookstore, why don’t you?), so I have decided to post a series of observations from my day at the fantasy football draft.

1. The smoked turkey is excellent!

2. There are actually two drafts going on today: the guys’ and the ladies’. The ladies are playing fantasy football this year because they got tired of hearing about it last year. Reports that most of the guys spent six months yelling “Game Day!” during orgasm are unsubstantiated.

3. Personally, I would never yell “Game Day!” during orgasm. I find “Sorry, I really thought I was going to last longer this time!” to be more fitting.

4. The guys have started their draft by awarding imaginary athletic awards. On a scale of one to ten, that’s a lame score of six-point-five.

5. Two of the ladies are teleconferencing. Another has designated a guy as their draft agent. Four on the lame scale, but a nine on the I hope you have a good cell-plan scale.

6. Two men are wearing football jerseys. To clarify, I have gone another year without anybody wearing armor to my Friday night Dungeons and Dragons game. We have also not given out imaginary rewards. Well, maybe that +2 Greataxe I just received counts.

7. Fuck you. I have a +2 Greataxe. Take your starting quarterback and stick him up your ass.

8. I walk away from the draft to hang out with my girlfriend and her two female friends. All of them are swimming. A majority are in bikinis. For perspective, here’s another version of these events…

Guys: Dude! We’re gonna go watch porn!

Me: Enjoy! I’m gonna go have sex.

Guys: Whatever, dude! Jeff just came on his stomach!

9. The ladies are rushing through their draft much fast than the guys. They have, however, decided that every other lady in the draft is either a bitch and/or a whore.

10. I fail to convince any of the guys to draft Icky Woods.

11. I do, however, convince all the guys that the ladies have taken a five minute break for a pillow fight.

12. The teleconference ladies realize how many cell minutes they’ve used and urge the rest of the ladies to “Hurry the fuck up.”

13. The rest of the ladies decide the teleconferencing ladies are “Skank ho’s.”

14. I call the “Skank ho’s” on call waiting and arrange a late night rendezvous.

15. I should mention that by this point I have eaten six turkey sandwiches and have moved on to the roast beef.

16. One of the guys jumps in the pool in an attempt to kill himself after losing a draft pick. He later claims to be “cooling off.”

17. The ladies have resorted to fisticuffs.

18. Nevermind. They’re making out. Hells yeah!

19. Ooh! So are the guys!

20. Back from the bathroom. I’m drained.

21. Back in the bathroom. Kick it in, second wind!

22. That horrific coughing sounds was not me. And it certainly wasn’t from a particularly strong hit of sweet, sweet weed.

23. The ladies finish the final round of their draft. The guys have roughly fifteen more rounds to go.

24. I finish coughing.

25. The ladies finally get around to their pillow fight. If by pillow fight you mean “naked bubble kiss time.”

26. Ooh! The guys are also having “naked bubble kiss time.”

27. I spend ten minutes confronting my possible bisexuality. I do this in the bathroom.

28. I’m drained once again.

29. The draft is over. Shawna, myself, and a few others spend about an hour making up naughty player names from the draft stickers that are left. Among these names are Craig Balls and Tony Toefucker. Shit Rod Smith is also a favorite. He plays for the Cincinnati Gramatica. Or possibly the Buffalo Nuts.

30. I give serious thought to playing fantasy football next year. I have already decided my team with either be the I-just-shit-on-the-floor’s or the Please-just-stab-me-in-the-goddamn-eye’s.

So there you go, ladies and gents. This is what happens at a fantasy football draft. Last I heard, the two teleconferencing ladies were looking at their cell phone bills and screaming “What the fuck?!” The guys are still asking me what the women in swimsuits looked like. They’re quite jealous.