Sunday, March 11, 2018

Short Post and a Song #152: YAAAAAAAAAY


Your regular Short Post programming is being interrupted this Sunday because hey guys, guess what? My young-adult dystopian novel, VIABLE, is now available in Kindle and paperback on Amazon! You can buy it here

Look at it there, looking all book-like. Pretty cool to see after nearly eight years working on the bastard.



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"Crystallize" by Lindsey Stirling




Whenever I imagine VIABLE as a movie I imagine someone like Lindsey Stirling as Baine. At thirty-one Stirling is a tad to old to play sixteen, and I have no idea if she can act, but her skill with the violin and the physicality she brings to her playing would just suit Baine's character so well.

Sunday, March 4, 2018

Short Post and a Song #151: The Pixar lamp makes a small but memorable cameo in Season 3.


Steve Miller Dan: Is there anything you wanna watch?

Me: Have you maybe changed your mind about Friday Night Lights?

Extremely Loud and Incredibly Dan: [laughs] No.

Me: But it’s not about football! It’s about the—

The Time Traveler's Dan: I know, I know, it’s about the—

Me: —characters.

The Danulator: —lights.



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"Hash Pipe" by Weezer





After many, many years I am very grateful to say that I can finally listen to Weezer again. When the Green Album came out I fell in love with the band's sound. Once I discovered that Weezer had done even more amazing music seven years earlier, I entered a phase of heavy Weezer listening that stretched from middle school well into college.

It took a while, but eventually I managed to kill all the Weezer songs I'd loved best by playing them over, and over, and over, sucking the soul out of them with no thought to my future self's happiness. And so I've spent several years only listening to "Buddy Holly" or "Island in the Sun" in cars and restaurants, bored by what had once been some of my most favorite songs.

But then the other day I was able to randomly hear "Hash Pipe" and both A) enjoy it, and B) not immediately realize what song it was. When I did figure out the song I went on a Weezer listening spree and all my old favorites welcomed me back with open arms. It was a beautiful experience, one I hope you'll all eventually find with bands you've murdered for yourselves.

This happened right in the nick of time, since I have been on the lookout for angsty, angry music as inspiration for my Rebel rewrite, and it doesn't get much more "just try to fuck with me and I will kick you in the face with my angsty teenage combat boot" than this song's bass line.

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Short Post and a Song #150: If I had actual children I probably wouldn't remember their names either.


ME: [accidentally bangs guitar on side of chair] Oooh sorry Gwennie.

MY BRAIN: Guinivere was your car in high school. Your guitar's name is Gretchen.

ME: Right right, sorry Gretchen.

MY BRAIN: You silly bitch, don't even know the names of your own children.



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"Highway Tune" by Greta Van Fleet




These guys sound so much like Led Zeppelin, it's insane. Like I really wonder if Josh Kiszka made some kind of Faustian/Little Mermaid-eqsue deal so he could have Robert Plant's voice. 

"Highway Tune" doesn't sound like one exact Zep song to me (though it's definitely got shades of "Black Dog" and "Rock and Roll" in there); it's more like Greta Van Fleet has somehow managed to bottle the band's general sound.

Some folks tend to write this band off since they sound so much like another band. But Jesus Christ, sounding like one of the greatest rock bands to ever exist ain't bad in my opinion. And as I've mentioned before, originality wasn't exactly Led Zeppelin's specialty either. 

Also check the guitar around 1:48. I don't care who the hell they sound like, that guitar fucking rips.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Short Post and a Song #149: No he didn't actually get me a giant cheese wheel, and yes I agree it was very cruel of him to toy with my emotions like that.


[Valentine's Day]

Star Wars: The Dan Awakens: My client said I should have bought you a rose on my way home.

Me: So I could be like, "Oh thaaaanks babe" and awkwardly put it in a glass since we don't have any vases and end up forgetting about it until the dead petals start crumbling all over the floor?

Teenage Mutant Ninja Dan: Yeah I told her you'd rather I bought you an enormous Valentine's Day cheese wheel.

Me: And the fact that you know me that well is gift enough. ...Seriously though did you get me a giant cheese wheel because now I can't stop thinking about it.



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"The Very Thought of You" by Billie Holiday




Heya Velocininjas, I hope you had a good Valentine's Day, hope you really smeared your happy relationships in your single friends' faces all over social media. I've never been a fan of Valentine's Day, to be honest, or big organized holidays in general. I wish people would just give each other gifts and appreciate one another all the time instead of when they're forced to.

So when Yes We Dan neglected to get me a giant cheese wheel, I wasn't sad because it was Valentine's Day. I was sad because I had thought there was maybe cheese, and then there wasn't, and that was a goddamn tragedy. 

But then I ate like five string cheeses later so really it was all fine.

Here's a song Dandango somehow seems to still enjoy despite hearing me sing it several thousand times while doing the dishes over the years, and also one of the first pictures anyone ever took of us together when we were small eighteen-year-old children:



Monday, February 12, 2018

Movies with Velociraptor Hands: Dirty Dancing, Part 4

Read Part 1 herePart 2 here, and Part 3 here.

Heya friends, hope you had a nice weekend! Did you watch the Olympics? Because I didn't, and I won't, and you can't make me. 

Instead of the Olympics, let's talk Dirty Dancing. When we last left Johnny and Baby, Johnny got accused of stealing a bunch of guests' wallets by one of his jealous diamond-pocket-stuffing ladies. 

Baby tells the hotel manager (in front of her family) that Johnny couldn't have done it because they were together in his room all night. Then Johnny gets fired anyway because fraternization, and Baby's dad is kind of a dick about the whole thing.

And now, the thrilling final installment of the notes I took while watching a movie that came out a year before I was born: 


-Got genuinely emotional over the scene with Baby confronting her dad. “I’m sorry I let you down, but you let me down too.” Having to learn that your parents are human people who are every bit as fallible as you is a very relatable lesson, and one this movie conveys well.

-Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey had amazing chemistry, wow. 

-They believe in each other, aw.

-C’mon, Swayze, maybe not the all black and the sunglasses and the leather jacket when you go to see Baby’s dad.

-This movie has such a great soundtrack.

-Kinda sweet how the sister’s not a piece of shit for a second there when she offers to do Baby’s hair.

-The grandma from Gilmore Girls was pretty hot.

-“Nobody puts Baby in a corner” is a dumb line imo. It just sounds so unnatural (why wouldn’t he be speaking directly to Baby when she’s right there?), and their table’s hardly even in a corner. Unless he means it metaphorically, like she should be onstage instead of in the audience? Whatever, it's dumb and I don't like it.

-Okay so the speech Johnny makes about Baby before they do their final dance together is just the best. Instead of some mushy declaration about love at first sight, or focusing on Baby’s physical beauty, he professes admiration for what a great person she is. He talks about her willingness to stick up for others, and how she’s “someone who’s taught me about the kind of person that I wanna be.” Johnny doesn’t see Baby as a trophy on his arm or a paper doll who only matters as far as she can enrich his own story—to him she’s a full-blown person in her own right. This an attitude that is sadly very hard to find in other romantic films, and I’ve gotta hand it to Dirty Dancing for doing a great job with it.

-That final dance is very corny but I also kinda love it still. Plus the earlier mention of Johnny working with the staff kids on a dance makes their involvement more plausible.

-Why is everyone doing that weird bridge thing with their arms?

-“When I’m wrong I say I’m wrong.” Was that supposed to be an apology, Baby’s dad? Because it sure as hell didn’t sound like one.

-How come no one ever brings up the prospect of Baby and Johnny staying in touch after the summer’s over? People probably didn’t come from super far to work or stay at a resort in the Catskills—they could’ve made their relationship work if they had wanted, I bet.

-Swayze always looks like he’s about to cry before he kisses her. 


Aaaand that's it! You would not be wrong to point out that I did not have the kindest things to say about Dirty Dancing during the first few installments. Watching the film, I couldn't help but agree with my friends' assessment: The dialogue was garbage and Baby and Johnny's relationship had no substance apart from several dance montages (or rather one very long dance montage with teeny tiny breaks for dialogue).

But in the last third or so of the movie you can see a definite change in the tone of my notes. Once Johnny and Baby were actually together I found myself rooting for their relationship, despite not giving a shit about it before it started. I also started to relate more to Baby as a character, and admire that she managed to become so nice and empathetic when her parents both seem kind of terrible.

Maybe I'm still biased because I grew up adoring this movie. Maybe I'll never have perspective. But I can say at twenty-nine that while I see a lot of problems with the movie that I didn't when I was a kid, I still also see a lot about it to love.

I skipped doing a Short Post and a Song this Sunday since this has already been way more than I've posted in five years, and I didn't want the blog to explode from posting too much at once. But since watching Dirty Dancing I have been listening to the soundtrack pretty frequently, and have grown particularly attached to a smooth little tune called "Stay" by Maurice Williams & the Zodiacs:




Thanks for joining me on another trip down memory lane, Velocininjas! This was way more fun than rereading Twilight, thank God.

Friday, February 9, 2018

Movies with Velociraptor Hands: Dirty Dancing, Part 3

Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here.

Hello again Velocininjas! Yes that's right, I'm blogging three days in a row, it's like a regular 2012 up in here. It's a lot easier to put out blog posts quickly when all I'm doing is copying and pasting a chunk of the notes I took while watching Dirty Dancing last week.

When we last left off, Baby had gone to a hotel staff party with a lot of sexy dancing and met Johnny. She's smitten with him when he gives her an impromptu dance lesson at the party, but he's kind of a dick to her at first, honestly. 

Baby finds out Johnny's dance partner, Penny, is pregnant and in need of an abortion, but can't find someone to cover for her in a show at another hotel when the traveling abortionist comes through town. It's decided that Baby will take Penny's place as Johnny's dance partner, since why not add the risk of being seen fraternizing with a guest to this already very tricky situation?

Aaand that's about as coherent as things are gonna get, I'm afraid. Let's get back to my notes:


-“Ga-gung” is a weird noise to make for a heartbeat. You too good for a simple “bum-bum”, Swayze?

-How long is this dancing montage?

-Is this movie just a dancing montage now?

-Too cool for a raincoat, Swayze? Your precious leather jacket is gonna be so fucked from wearing it in the pouring rain and you will deserve it.

-I have always despised the moment when Johnny and Baby get in his car after he broke the window to get his keys, and Baby exclaims, “You’re wild!” To make matters worse, Johnny doesn’t hear her the first time and asks what she said, and she repeats it, only much louder and more obnoxiously. It’s awkward and forced and way too on the nose and I hate it so much.

-Baby and Johnny's relationship is based almost entirely on dance montages.

-Swayze’s talking about women “stuffing diamonds” in his pockets. So is he a prostitute who gets paid in diamonds? Are the diamonds in necklace or ring form, or are these women just jamming big ol handfuls of uncut diamonds in there?

-Love how the music synchs perfectly with Baby grabbing Johnny’s ass.

-Beige iridescent lipstick sounds like just the worst thing.

-Johnny tells his tale of being a man whore like he’s the poor, used victim in all this. Yes, those women were using you, but you were also using them for money and sex while not giving a shit that they were cheating on their husbands with you, sooo…

-“You’re not daddy’s girl anymore. He listens when I talk now.” How long could they have been on this vacation that Baby’s older sister could claim that her father has switched favorite children? That sort of shift usually takes more than a week or two.

-Baby’s older sister singing to rehearse for the talent show remains as amazing a scene as I remember.

-What do all these women see in Garbage Robbie? He’s such an asshole it’s absurd—he’s a cartoon, a caricature of an asshole. He has a copy of The Fountainhead with notes in the margins that he's able to just whip out at any given moment since he has it on him even while he's doing his job. As a waiter. For Christ's sake.


Okay, I've got one chunk of notes left, so you guys get to wait until next week for the thrilling conclusion of me watching a very popular film and making snarky comments about it while other people go to their jobs and actually contribute to society.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Movies with Velociraptor Hands: Dirty Dancing, Part 2

Read Part 1 here

All right dudes and duderinas, it's time for our discussion of the seminal film, Dirty Dancing, (aka the many poorly organized stream-of-consciousness notes I took while watching the movie) to truly begin.

Btw I just looked up "seminal" to make sure I was using it right and I totally was:


I am, of course, referring to the second definition.


Without any further ado, let the stream of consciousness ramblings begin!

-Baby does a voice-over at the beginning of the movie and I don’t think it ever comes back. Is that normal, to be like, “This is gonna be a movie with voice-over narration” for the first minute, and then just go, “Haha, psyyyche bitchesss, no voice-over for you!”

-“I’d be standing here dead.” No you fucking wouldn’t, guy, dead people can’t stand up. That’s like one of the core aspects of being dead, not being able to stand anymore.

-During dance class Penny says, “God wouldn’t have given you maracas if he didn’t want you to shake ’em” to a room of women in reference to their breasts, and I wanna know how that’s not sexual harassment.

-In Johnny Castle’s first appearance he’s wearing sunglasses at night, carrying his leather jacket over his shoulder, and holding a large sign that says “BAD BOY” with his other hand. (Okay maybe not the last one, but he may as well have.)

-I love how the manager of the hotel treats his dance teachers like they’re these hard criminals or something. They’re dance teachers. At a fucking summer camp for adults in the Catskills.

-Johnny tells Robbie the waiter to “put your pickle on everybody’s plate and leave the hard stuff to me” and I can't even choose a dick joke to make, there are just too many options. Also what sort of resort is this where everyone gets a pickle on their plate? Is that really a thing? That sounds awesome, sign me up for that.

-The hotel manager’s bitch of a grandson is gonna have a shitty career ahead of him if he really thinks the dance teachers “showing off for each other” isn’t going to sell lessons.

-Johnny’s nose is in his dance partner’s crotch at one point. Their platonic friendship is a strange one.

-Bitch Boy, as the hotel manager’s grandson shall now be known, tells Baby, “I love to watch your hair blowing in the breeze” when there is seriously zero breeze. Fuck this guy.

-I have never seen people in real life now dance as much like they're about to bone as the hotel staff at this party in 1963.


And on that wholesome note we'll end for today. Join me next time for my groundbreaking observations about dance montages.