Sunday, November 19, 2017

Short Post and a Song #137: Are the tacos in the cauldron?


I'd be in great shape if I could just dedicate as much thought to getting my shit together as I do to how that one dude offered Schmendrick a taco in The Last Unicorn even though his group only had rat soup.





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"Lost Coastlines" by Okkervil River




While a few trusted friends are looking over Viable, I've been doing a lot of thinking about The Renaissance Experiment trilogy as a whole. Not writing anything down, really—just thinking about themes and messages and all those other sorts of things that can be a bit dangerous to think about when you're doing the actual writing (or at least it can be for me).

While I've been doing that thinking I have listened to this song roughly 5,000 times. When I first heard it I just thought it was a sweet, lovey sort of sounding song and I plopped it on my "Roth" playlist (every main character in the series has his or her own playlist, and even some of the secondary ones).

As I found myself coming back to this song over and over, I realized how strongly it applies to not just one character, but the whole series. The song is about getting on a boat and heading away from everything you've ever loved toward the unknown. It's about feeling lost.

But if you listen to the song, it doesn't sound like it's about that at all! It sounds so damn happy. And a happy song about being scared and alone and lost happens to fit this series like a glove.

Also check out the video, guys—it documents all the amazing drawing of the illustrations and lettering artist Kevin Tong did for an Okkervil River show.

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Short Post and a Song #136: it's like tarantino WANTS me to have insomnia

ME: [trying to sleep]

MY BRAIN: why was michael madsen's character in reservoir dogs named mr. blonde when everyone else was a regular color?

ME: shut up

MY BRAIN: why not mr. yellow?

ME: [covers head with pillow]

MY BRAIN: why jill



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"Tickle" by Eyes Lips Eyes




This song is sooooooo muuuuuuch fuuuuuun. Whenever I listen to it I swear I can feel those guitar riffs tickling my brain.

Sunday, November 5, 2017

Short Post and a Song #135: An ice cream factory sounds like it would probably be the best factory.

Guys I have some terrible news. There are only a few pages of It Takes Four left, so I'll have to go back to trying to think up jokes on Sundays again starting next week.

But for now, the epic conclusion of this terrible, terrible book I wrote when I was eight!

Last week ended in yet another cliffhanger: "The parents clapped and in the morning the parent had forgotten all..."




Translation: ...about the divorce. Now you probebly think I'll say they lived happily ever after. I only have two words for you...

Yeah Right!

At the Callaway house I don't know how, but the next day Mr, Mrs. Callaway were back on their feet. The parents were thrilled at the scene but they...


It's nice to see that my sense of humor was on point even back then. "Yeah Right!" Classic. 

"...I don't know how, but the next day Mr, Mrs. Callaway were back on their feet." That has got to be some of laziest fucking storytelling I have ever seen. Clearly I got too preoccupied with the stupid Love Prance and totally forgot there was a whole other set of twins with probably Alzheimer's-ridden parents.

But now the parents are back on their feet! Who would've thought such a devastating illness could be cured by the presence of their daughter and another girl who looks just like her that she met in the woods.




Translation: Lived Happily Ever After. The End


Well that was abrupt. Seriously I took these pictures a while ago and double-checked the book to make sure there wasn't any more.

There was not.

But hey, at least there's a sign with lights around it that says "The End" in cursive that appears to have been hung on a wall by the same person who hung all those horrifying blank pictures. And a pathetic-looking flower.





Translation: About the Author

(illustrartor)

Jillian Karger is a third grader at Parkview School. Jillian has also ... The Scary Witch, The Invisible Friend and George and Garth go to the Ice Cream Factory. Jill has 5 people in her family and four pets.


I actually think "illustrartor" is amazing and vow to do all that I can to ensure that this becomes the new commonly accepted spelling of the word.

For someone who had written so many books at this point you'd think I'd say "written" instead of "...". 

Oh man, I really wish I knew where any of those books were, especially "George and Garth go to the Ice Cream Factory". If I remember correctly, "The Scary Witch" ended with said scary witch turning into a rainbow.

Thanks for making another trip down memory lane with me, Velocininjas. Next time I'm in Ohio I'm gonna have to stock up on more embarrassing shit from my childhood to share whenever I'm running low on jokes.


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"The Next Time We Wed" by The Fratellis




This is the third time I've featured The Fratellis, and I love how incredibly different all three songs are. "Whistle for the Choir" is a pretty love song, "Medusa in Chains" is slow and bluesy, and "The Next Time We Wed" is a groovy tune that brings Prince to mind. This new track is just so much goddamn fun.

Happy Guy Fawkes Day, friends, go watch V for Vendetta for me.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Short Post and a Song #134: Please be sensible, you young gaggle of twins.

Good afternoon, Velocininjas! I don't even care if you're having a good Halloween weekend so far, since you're about to get the blessing of FOUR pages of It Takes Four, so it'll even out to an awesome weekend no matter what. 

More like SUBSTANTIAL Post and a Song, amirite? Ah, alliteration.

In case you don't remember, last week's adventure ended on a cliffhanger: "So Amanda and Anita went back to the Dractec house. Dractec is Anita's last name. They did that because they..."




Translation: ...were full of ideas. Alisa and Octavea went to the Callaway house because they have the most convincing voices.

Meanwhile at the Dractec house Anita said, "Why don't we just be mean and they'll get so caught up in fighting who would get which one of us?" You could tell by the look on Amanda's face...


First of all, what the fuck are those girls standing on? A changing table?

Also good job whoever hangs pictures in that house, A+.

What is this business about "convincing voices"? What does that have to do with anything? I still don't understand why this switch is happening at all. Please be sensible, you young gaggle of twins.




Translation: ...that she thought that was stupid. Anita said "What? You have a better idea?" Amanda said, "Actually I do. We could do a little romantic show for them." Anita said, "Yeah.


Okay this house of blank pictures is starting to freak me the fuck out. Would it have been so hard to draw a tree or a dog or something?

I almost wish the book ended here, with Amanda proposing they do a show and Anita, real low-key, just saying, "Yeah."




Translation: Maybe would sing." Amanda said, "What woud we sing?" Anita said, "We will make-up song

So soon everything was made up. They got the parents on the patio and the girls sang, "You ever been on a date?




Translation: "Was there nothing but screams and hate? Well now we have the cure for sur it's the love prance/Swing your girl with a love whirl/Here's your chance do your dance, it's the love prance!

The parents clapped and in the morning the parent had forgotten all...


Does anyone else feel like things went from "have you ever been on a date" to "screams and hate" really quickly? Like, dude, what happened on that date?

So I guess a love prance is a certain kind of dance. Did the girls choreograph a dance too? Because if not their stupid song is fucking worthless.

Aaand this week ends with another cliffhanger. Are these the parents with Alzheimer's? If so the girls kinda wasted their time making up that whole song and everything...


~*~*~*~*~


"Solid Ground" by Maps & Atlas




Spotify Discover Weeky recently introduced me to this song and it's become a regular in my rotation as I edit Viable. It's got a real soundtrack-y feel to it, particularly the first minute or so.

I'm editing Viable because I finished the rough draft of Rebel (the sequel to Viable) on Tuesday, yaaaaay.


Photographic evidence


It's a thin draft, but at least the basic bones of the story are in place. 

Now I'm going through Viable to make sure everything across both books still makes sense, since I started writing Viable in 2010 and Rebel in 2011, so the worlds of both books have evolved substantially.

Rebel is the fourth novel I've finished writing, and the first novel I've finished in four years. It's not very good at all now, but I think maybe it could be. We shall see.

I hope all of your writing is going well, those of you who write. Some of my writer friends have half a book or most of a screenplay, but just can't seem to finish. The only advice I know how to give is: Keep going

It's gonna suck. You're gonna hate it. Do it anyway. 

If you're lucky you'll get a few of those sparkly moments where you truly sink into the story, like you did into the stories you loved to read most as a kid. 

Do it for those moments, especially since if they give you those feelings, there's a good chance there's some reader out there, at least one, who might feel them too.

At the end you'll have a draft that will probably fall incredibly short of your original vision. But it's yours. It exists. And nobody's going to stop you from chiseling away at it until it starts to look more on paper the way it does in your head.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Short Post and a Song #133: Pick a direction to color and stick with it, Christ.

Well good afternoon, Velocininjas! Hope your weekend's going well, and even if it's not, this work of fine literature I'm about to share should turn your frown upside down.

(Does anyone else think turning a frown upside down sounds like a rather horrific process?)




Translation: One day Alisa and Amanda were playing in their room. They decided to go on a walk in the woods. As they were walking they ran into 2 girls who looked exactly like them. Suddenly, they were confusedly scared. They all talked anyway


Well first of all that sky is atrocious. Pick a direction to color and stick with it, Christ.

Also, remember how I said the movie It Takes Two is highly improbable since it involves two identical but unrelated little girls meeting each other by chance? It looks like I decided to exponentially increase that implausibility by featuring two sets of identical twins who also look identical to each other.

They all look pretty shocked. Or, I'm sorry, "confusedly scared". Good thing there are those rocks there to hold 'em up.




Translation: They all had their problems. The other pair of twins names were Anita and Octavea. Their problem was their parents were just about to get divorced. Alisa and Amanda's problem was about their parents were forgetting things. They had tried almost everything...


So wait, "forgetting things"? Do their parents have Alzheimer's?? If so, that was some pretty heavy territory for eight-year-old me to be entering with my ripoff of an Olsen twins movie.





Translation: ...but switching, but this wasn't just switching it swop switching. swop switching is when one of the twins in each of the pairs switches. So Amanda and Anita went back to the Dractec house. Dractec is Anita's last name. They did that because they...


Why is this switch happening at all, though? What do all these twins think they're going to accomplish with this?

Also, Child Self, all you had to do was give Anita a normal-sounding last name like Miller or Smith. But instead you chose the name Dractec, a name I am quite sure no human has ever had. 

You're an embarrassment.


~*~*~*~*~


"Death of a Bachelor" by Panic! At The Disco





Over the years a number of folks have made the mistake of observing I have "good" taste in music, only to later be disappointed by my fervent love of a band whose albums they want to set on fire. 

Musical taste is extremely subjective, friends, and odds are one of these days I am going to profess my adoration for a band you hate.

For some of you, that day may be today.

Whatever you may think of Panic! At The Disco, I believe that band has done some of the most original and interesting music that's come out in the past decade. This song manages to seamlessly blend big band jazz, pop, and hip hop into an addictive tune I can quit dancing in my seat to.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Short Post and a Song #132: No, I don't know what a love prance is any more than you do.

Hope everyone's having a good weekend, and even if you're not it's about to get much better.

Today we begin our second trip down the memory lane of books I wrote as a child with a laminated masterpiece called It Takes Four.

I fucking loved the movie It Takes Two as a kid. My youthful obsession with the Olsen twins can probably be best explained by the fact that I had two older sisters who were much closer in age to each other than they were to me, and so I desperately longed for my own partner in crime in the form of a twin.

It Takes Two is basically The Parent Trap only even less plausible, since the two identical girls in It Takes Two are miraculously supposed to not even be related. 





Ah the good old days of drawing birds as the letter "V".




They're supposed to be identical and yet one is several inches taller than the other. 

It appears that I also chose to call something in this book a "Love Prance". 

Jesus Christ, Child Self, get it together.




I love you, Mom and Dad. Here, have some creepy, misshapen hearts with Olsen faces on them.


We'll pick up with the proper story next week.


~*~*~*~*~


"Alive With The Glory of Love" by Julia Nunes




I posted about Julia Nunes a few years back and thought I'd share a favorite video of hers: her cover of one of my favorite songs (original by Say Anything). You can really see here what a fantastic performer she is and her amazing instincts with arranging harmonies.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Short Post and a Song #131: Forrest Gump rough draft


FORREST GUMP: My momma always said, "Life was like a box of chocolates. You never know what you're gonna get." 'Course you could know if you read the inside of the box, but Mama wasn't much for readin', said books were "where the devil was hiding."


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"Hobo's Lament" by Larry and His Flask




This song is fantastic. Despite some fairly depressing lyrics, the song is bouncy and fun and head-bopping-y as fuck. It really gets going around 2:54, and the guitar at around 3:58 is just bananas.

Sorry I've been absent (again) in recent history, Velocininjas. For whatever reason my body has been not been doing a very good job absorbing potassium for the past few weeks and, apparently, potassium is kind of an important thing to not be deficient in. So I've been fairly weak and worthless these days, laying around and watching TV. I've started supplementing with potassium and things are already starting to improve.

I've reached the end of my supply of Short Posts and am not really feeling up to writing more, so instead we are going to take another trip down memory lane. This will be a journey through It Takes Four, a book I wrote for my third grade class. 


The back cover


Translation: It takes Two was A very good film. Now the sequel It Takes Four. Two recodnized characters with a double bump. Read it to see what I mean.

Well I for one am very excited to find out what the fuck "recodnized characters with a double bump" means in the weeks to come.