Sunday, December 10, 2017

Short Post and a Song #140: Yeah we can't order from that place anymore

So I mentioned previously that I've been doing something called "joke twitter" for a while now. In joke twitter it's common for people to put together collections of their best jokes from the previous month, then do a call inviting others to swap jokes.

I did my first monthly call for October and it was a lot of fun getting to read jokes from friends as well as a lot of very funny strangers. 

So I did another one for November:

Ayn Dand laughed when he saw the picture I used for the call.

Hoover Dan: Someone is going to take that picture of you and be like, "She slapped my baby!" And the cops are gonna be like, "Oh yeah she looks like a real... 

Me: [answers phone call from delivery person]

Dantasy Football: ...BABY-SLAPPING BITCH!"


"Sympathy for the Devil" by the Rolling Stones

I've been a fan of the Rolling Stones ever since I was old enough to tell people my favorite band was the Beatles, and have them respond with something along the lines of, "I prefer the Rolling Stones myself."

(I don't know when I became a Beatles fan. I have no memory of a world without their music, quite luckily for me.)

Since people kept associating the Rolling Stones with my favorite band, I figured maybe I would like them too. And I did, very very much. 

The many times throughout my life that people have asked me, "The Beatles or the Rolling Stones" I've just been like, "Why? I CAN LIKE TWO BANDS GODDAMMIT."

Anyway, "Sympathy for the Devil" is a hell of a song. The samba beat, in theory, seems like such a weird fit for this song, and yet it works perfectly. It has some of the best narrative lyrics I've ever heard and makes me think of John Milton's Satan in Paradise Lost.

And let's not forget that fucking sick guitar solo.

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Short Post and a Song #139: About 83% of our conversations end up involving Muppets at some point

Just a typical Saturday night chilling at home with Swedish Danf:

Danzo initially thought that either Statler or Waldorf had a monocle, but I shut that shit down real fast.


"Hands Down" by The Greeting Committee

Generally with music I am a song-by-song type. Many of the songs I love most are the only ones by that band that I know, and while I love Led Zeppelin dearly I have no idea which tunes belongs to which album. 

However, when I really really really like a song I'll sometimes feel inspired to check out the band's other stuff.

That is precisely what happened with me and "Hands Down" by The Greeting Committee. I was blown away to find that The Greeting Committee is comprised of mere children who are every bit as good live

I don't even hear lyrics most of the time, but some of these lyrics in this song, I mean, Jesus Christ:

"Baby, you know I love you
More than my words know how to show you" 

Aaaaand now I'm crying, and only slightly because I have been writing words my entire life and these babies are already better at it than I am.

I highly recommend their other stuff, especially "Elise" and "She's a Gun" (which has a super fun video game-inspired music video).

Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Short Post and a Song #138: No that was a boop you ignorant savage

Peter Dan: [pats my nose] Bop!

Me: I get the feeling you are going to bop my nose again

Raisin Dan cereal: [pats my nose] Boop!

Me: Ha I was right

Bicentennial Dan: No that was a boop you ignorant savage


"Hallways" by Islands

You may be wondering what the fuck we're all doing here since today is Tuesday and not Sunday. But alas, I was at my cousin's in DC for Thanksgiving, seeing memorials and portraits and shit (and also the movie Coco, which I very highly recommend). 

I miss the alliteration of Short Post and a Song when it doesn't occur on a Sunday. I mean let's face it, we all do. But life is just too short to let alliteration call the shots.

My cousin is the proud owner of a keyboard and as someone who hasn't had regular access to a piano in nearly a decade, it was difficult to keep myself from tinkering with it whenever I was in the keyboard's vicinity. (This should be a lesson to all of you: Do not invite me over, I am not a good house guest.) 

I generally stuck to the scant handful of songs that I still have stored up in my fingers after all these years, but I missed the days of tediously and neck-ruiningly bending over my parents' piano growing up, trying to sound out the songs and movie scores I loved most. 

"Hallways" makes my fingers itch. It'd take two people to achieve the full effect but I think after many, many, many hours of making terrible noise on a piano I could maybe figure out some sort of one-person version. My one criticism of this lovely tune is that the piano at the end could go even further complexity-wise, but then I found this live version where exactly that happens.

I hope you had a good Thanksgiving, Velocininjas! Unless you're British. 

Then fuck you.

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.


"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


"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


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.


"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.