Monday, January 22, 2018

Short Post and a Song #146: She compared the song I ultimately chose to "early Coldplay" and I have no idea how to take that.

NURSE: Do you tend to get dizzy or faint when you get blood drawn?

ME: Absolutely yes.

NURSE: You should play some music on your phone, it’ll relax you.

ME: [panicking twice as hard now about whether she’ll like the song I choose] Oh ok cool.


"One Summer's Day" by Joe Hisaishi

I know I may make it sound like I listen to a wide variety of cool and edgy music when I'm writing, but honestly about 50% of the stuff I listen to when working on my books comes from the soundtracks of children's movies and was written by the amazingly wonderful composer in the video above.

Joe Hisaishi has the power to take emotions and bottle them up into melodies that make your heart ache. "One Summer's Day" from Spirited Away is four minutes of bittersweet nostalgia that will have your throat swelling and your eyes tearing in just the first few notes, even if you're not sure why. You'll start thinking of the the hometown you don't visit often enough, or the last great day you spent with a friend you didn't realize until later you weren't going to see again.

Speaking of writing, I'm editing Viable for roughly the 4,239,101st time. I realized I went a bit mad with line breaks in one of my more recent edits so now I'm going back and putting things more or less back the way they were before I cut all my paragraphs to ribbons. 

It's been tedious and a little disheartening to spend so much time making a change, only to realize the change doesn't work and that it was better the way it was before. But I'm not putting everything back the way it was. A few of those new line breaks actually add some much-needed emphasis to a certain line, or amp up the humor of one of my protagonist's wittier asides. 

Sometimes with a book you'll dedicate A LOT of time to making a change that might only improve things by one or two percent. Sadly that's just the name of the game when it comes to creating any sort of art. It's up to you whether you choose to focus on the time lost—or on how even if it was only by the tiniest bit, you made something you were already proud of even better.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Short Post and a Song #145: SpongeBob's human arms are gonna give me nightmares

No matter what the rest of the world believes, always remember that stoned vandal (possibly radioactive?) SpongeBob on the back wall of the fried chicken place near my apartment thinks you are doing a great job.


"Intergalactic" by the Beastie Boys

I don't have a fancy explanation for this one, guys: I just really fucking love this song.

Monday, January 8, 2018

The Opposite of Bitchin’

This afternoon I was on hold with the doctor’s office. I expected to be put on hold. I expected the hold music to be bad.

However I was not expecting there to be STATIC.

And I’m not talking a little static.

I’m talking driving through Two Gas Stations and an Abandoned Barn, West Virginia; straiiiining to hear “Gimme Shelter” by The Rolling Stones through the nearly constant static on the shitty car radio since it’s still better than the “Give Us All Your Money Because Jesus” show on the only other functioning station, and since “Gimme Shelter” is a bitchin’ song.

This song, sadly, was not at all bitchin’. It was the downright opposite of bitchin’: It was this super peppy polka music.

So for forty-five harrowing minutes I sat with my headphones full of 85% mind-numbing static, and 15% abrasively upbeat accordion.

I got the referrals faxed where they needed to be faxed in the end, but my God, at what cost?

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Short Post and a Song #144: And they say it's hard to be productive on the weekend.

Final Dantasy: wow it's only 11? we've already accomplished so much

Me: have we now

Super Danio: [playing video game] well I don't know how many terrorists YOU'VE killed today jill


"Moscow" by Autoheart

Recently I entered one of those musical slumps where I've played the songs I love most to death and now hate them. (It's okay, I just have to not listen to those songs for a while before I can go back to loving them all over again.) So I've been relying pretty heavily on Spotifly Discover Weekly these days for music that doesn't make me wanna punch stuff.

This sweet love song caught my attention since I'm a sucker for piano and melodic vocals. I think it could be great on the soundtrack of a film in a lovey dovey happy ending sort of scene.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

The Birth of a Rebel

Krissy was what adults tended to refer to as a “problem child”, when what they really meant was a “little piece of shit”. She had no manners to speak of and was already swearing like a sailor at age five. She couldn’t visit a neighbor’s house without profoundly fucking it up in some way and was known for her generally loud and rowdy behavior.

Also five, I was not a problem child. I was mild-mannered, shy, and eager to avoid inconveniencing anyone. I got along with most of the kids in the neighborhood and had never had a real argument or confrontation with any of them.

Krissy and I were polar opposites—I should have been put off by her wild ways.

Instead I found her fascinating. Krissy clearly did not give a fuck what people thought, and as a kid who already gave way too many fucks, I admired her.

Krissy moved before we turned six, but during our brief friendship we managed to go on several stupid (and in some cases legitimately dangerous) adventures together.

Probably the most dangerous adventure we went on was the maiden voyage of Krissy’s life-sized Barbie car. Krissy was gifted the Barbie car for her birthday by her foolish, foolish parents who, given everything their daughter had done in her five years of life up to that point, should have known better.

For those who don’t remember these frankly irresponsible toys, Krissy’s Barbie car was basically a tiny Jeep that was capable of going slightly slower than a fast-moving bike.

The car was meant for sidewalks, driveways. It most definitely was not meant for the actual road, where actual cars were.

Still, roughly an hour after the party where Krissy received the car, she appeared by my side where I was playing with some other neighborhood kids.

“Wanna check out my new car?” she asked.

I had desperately been eying the Barbie cars at the toy store for months, so fuck yes I wanted to check out Krissy’s new car.

I abandoned my safer, saner friends and found myself sitting in the passenger’s seat of the toy car with a girl I had seen try to climb our neighbor’s garage door in the driver’s seat.

“Where do you wanna go?” she inquired, gripping the steering wheel.

I thought for a moment. “I bet we could make it all the way to Jeannette’s house,” I said. Jeannette was a friend who lived one street over and traveling that distance in a car of our own seemed like the height of badass rebellion in my five-year-old mind.

Krissy gave me a condescending, “oh bless your heart” sort of smile. “I think we can do better than that.”

You guys probably know that childhood memories aren’t the most reliable. Your brain’s still developing and it can be hard to tell the difference between what you actually remember and the stories you’ve told yourself over the years.

So take what comes next with a grain of salt: But what I remember came straight out of an action movie—albeit one starring two small girls in an equally small Barbie Jeep made of plastic.

Krissy tore diagonally across the driveway, through the grass, and over the curb. For a moment we were airborne, flying, before the rubber hit the street.

With a screech of the brakes and a thick puff of exhaust we careened around our cul-de-sac, and continued speeding down the road.

I swore I could hear police sirens and see the flashing lights of their helicopters up above. We were gonna be in so much trouble.

We were also headed for one of the main streets in my town, which had a very steady stream of traffic.

Still I don’t remember feeling scared. I was five; kids don’t understand death, not really.

All I knew was that I was speeding down the street with my friend, going faster than I had ever thought the toy Jeep could possibly go.

The wind filled our ears and I felt really, truly free.

…For, like, two minutes maybe.

Right before we reached the main road and it truly would have become a life or death situation, our parents caught up with us and brought us back home.

That wild ride had been the most exhilarating thing to happen to me since going on the highway in a golf cart a year earlier (we’ll get into that in a future post, promise), and I thirsted for more of that sweet adrenaline.

A 5-year-old rebel had been born. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Short Post and a Song #143: Marty McFly you son of a bitch

So not only did dozens of artists steal Chuck Berry's intellectual property during his career, but Marty McFly actually went back in time and played one of Berry's most popular songs before Berry even had the chance to come up with it himself. 

That is some high level mind fuckery, McFly. Yeah screw you man. Who the fuck do you even think you are in that vest


"Johnny B. Goode" by Chuck Berry

Here's Chuck Berry performing his VERY ORIGINAL AND NOT WRITTEN BY A TEENAGE SKATEBOARDER IN A STUPID VEST song live in 1958. Watching Berry play guitar is just about one of the best things. He seems to be having so much goddamn fun and handles his guitar so naturally it may as well be another limb. 

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

Short Post and a Song #142: driving on drugs

[drives on drugs]

[tearfully tells drugs' wife how sorry i am i killed her husband]

[helps pay for drugs' children's educations but am never truly able to absolve myself from the guilt of drugs' death]


"Feel It Still" by Portugal. The Man

Merry Belated Christmas, Velocininjas! I wasn't here on Sunday due to it being Christmas Eve and I was spending it with Dantasia's family. Just a few weeks before that A Dan for All Seasons and I were out to dinner with his dad and his dad's girlfriend, and "Feel It Still" came on the radio.

After a few seconds I remarked that the song sounded like "Please Mr. Postman" by The MarvelettesWhen I got home I was smugly pleased to find that Wikipedia supported my claim:

I mean what else are blogs for other than to brag about being right about really inconsequential things?

When I've made observations like this in the past some have assumed that I must not like the new song in question. But I actually really, really like "Feel It Still" and think it's all the stronger for what it took from "Mr. Postman". It's a groovy tune that makes me want to dance, and one I've been listening to on a fairly addictive basis while writing in recent history.

"Feel It Still" does have an official music video, but I tend to be of the opinion that most official music videos are kinda crap (with some great exceptions, of course). So instead you guys get a video of some very skilled dancers from Brian Friedman Choreography doing a super fun routine to the song in a warehouse.