Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Awesomeness That Is Sherwood

Sherwood is my favorite band right now. Because they're pretty much amazing. I saw them in Provo last October, and I thought they were even better live, so when I found out that they were coming to Salt Lake on July 14, I knew that I had to be there. Luckily, I know a few people who also like Sherwood, like my friend Jillian.

Me and Jillian, enduring crappy opening bands . . .

After much waiting, Sherwood finally came on. It took forever, especially since I really didn't enjoy the opening acts. The second band sucked the worst. They really liked the F-word (not in their music, but when they were chatting up the audience), and I really don't like being called a mother effer.

But it was all worth it. As soon as Sherwood came on and started playing, I realized just how much I love this band. I think the best part was that the worst expletive we heard them say was "hell." A nice comparison to hearing the F-bomb 49 times.

Sherwood's finally on!


Nate and Mikey (Mikey's face is the best)

Nate . . . I really like him . . .

The concert was pretty freaking amazing. I loved it. Sherwood played a couple songs from their new album that were so awesome! I bought their new EP, and I love it. I can't wait for the new album to come out.

We actually got to talk to some of the band members. Not for very long, but for a bit, thanks to the fact that Dan knows my brother-in-law Ben and that my brother Matt is super social and likes to talk to people (especially cool people). The guys in the band are really cool, and they were way nice. Joe, the drummer, even gave Matt a drumstick after the show, which I thought was pretty cool. They all kind of just hang out after the show so they can give autographs and take pictures. There weren't even a lot of people vying for their attention, either, so we got to actually talk to them a bit.

With Mikey

With Dan

With Nate

I wanted to get my EP signed by the whole band, but when I was waiting for a bunch of people who were getting Nate's autograph, his pen ran out. So only Dan and Mikey signed my EP, which was really sad. But Nate told us that they are coming to Provo soon, so I'm taking my EP and my own dang pen! I'm not going to get stuck without autographs again.

My Sherwood loot

I found out today that Sherwood is indeed coming to Provo again . . . in two weeks. On August 3rd they will be playing at Velour, and I can't wait. I'm getting more pictures and autographs. And no, two concerts in a month is not even close to overkill. Stoked doesn't even begin to describe my excitement.

Pictures courtesy of Jillian (minus the last one).

Monday, July 13, 2009

My Book List

For some reason, lately I've been thinking a lot about books that I want to read in my lifetime. I'm doing my best to compile a list of books to read, but it's hard when it seems like just about everything sounds interesting to me. I've even been in the mood to read nonfiction, which is kind of weird to me because I usually limit myself to fiction.

I made the mistake of looking up a list of Pulitzer prize-winning books, and I have since decided that I want to read every one of them. Even those on the nonfiction list. And even some on the biography list.

Unfortunately, this desire to read new books and discover new ideas is conflicting with my desire to re-read all of the books that I know and love. It's been over a year since I've read my Harry Potter series, and while that seems like a very short amount of time, that's quite a feat for me. I really think this is the longest I've gone without reading the series in about eight years.

Another problem I'm having is that I find my attention diverted in all different directions. I want to hang out with friends, and work my way through the movie list that I'm also making, and play Guitar Hero, and write in my journal, and write my own fiction . . . There are so many things calling for my attention that I just don't seem to read nearly as much as I used to. I used to make it through at least a book a week, depending on the length and difficulty, and now I'm lucky if I read a book a month. It's so sad.

It also doesn't help that I like to buy any book I want to read. I figure that if a book is worth reading, it's worth owning. I've got to build up my library somehow, right? Unfortunately I want to spend my money in a million different places too . . .

My goal for the next few weeks/months is to read more. I need to expand my literary tastes. I rarely read something I don't enjoy, so I just need to be brave enough to read things I've never read before. I'm open to any and all suggestions—they'll just end up at the end of my list, and I'll get there when I get there.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Public Enemies

Today I saw the movie Public Enemies. To put it shortly, I loved it. I thought the acting was stellar and the story was fascinating. Part of the reason that I was so gung-ho to see it was because I recently found out that my great-great uncle Jay C. Newman was one of the G-men who helped hunt down John Dillinger and his gang. He was actually shot by Baby Face Nelson. The bullet grazed his forehead and left a scar there for the rest of his life.

I really think that's why I found this movie so completely fascinating. I have some personal interest in the story.

Throughout the movie, I felt conflicting sympathies. I sympathized with John Dillinger and with Melvin Purvis, who was the lead agent who was after Dillinger and his gang. I can't believe how inadequate the police force was in 1933. The police force either didn't have the ability, the knowledge, or the manpower to get these criminals, or they were taking bribes from the criminals so they could stay out of the prisons. It was incredibly difficult for the regular police officers to understand what they needed to do in order to apprehend these criminals.

The acting in this movie was absolutely superb. I love, love, love Johnny Depp. He's amazing and did a tremendous job as John Dillinger. I especially loved seeing him in a role that wasn't a kind of caricature, not that he doesn't perform those roles brilliantly as well. But seeing him as a real person, as opposed to as Edward Scissorhands or Jack Sparrow or Willy Wonka, just proves to me what a talented actor he truly is. I feel a slight Johnny Depp kick coming on after watching this movie . . . I think my slight obsessive tendencies are making themselves known.

Christian Bale also did a fabulous job as Melvin Purvis. He played not only a hard-working government agent, but also a decent and honest man. I loved his character about as much as I loved Johnny Depp's. Christian Bale is also a brilliant actor. (But it's too late for a Christian Bale kick . . . I've been on one my whole life. I've loved him since I was five.)

I think the most fascinating thing about this movie and this story was how the public viewed John Dillinger and his gang. They were celebrities. They took hostages and forced them to ride on their cars as they got away from their bank robberies. Yet the public loved them. At one point in the film, Dillinger refuses to aid in a kidnapping because the public doesn't like kidnapping. He gave the people in the banks their money back before taking off with the bank's money. He was seen as a decent criminal, it seems. He hid among the public who loved him so much. I tell myself that I can't believe people would love such hardened criminals so much, that people would line up just to see John Dillinger at his court appearances, but then I look at our current world and at the celebrities we gawk at. Some of them are horrible people who have done horrible things, yet the public still lines up to see them, sometimes even at their court appearances.

I'm planning on scoping out some books about the 1930s crime wave. I'm completely intrigued by the whole story and I want to know how things really went down.

Public Enemies is rated R for violence. (There are a lot of Tommy guns.)