Sunday, October 13, 2013

Short Post and a Song #62: Dear every comedy movie ever,

I'm sorry, but despite your most valiant efforts, I will just never think that vomit is funny. 


"The Girl" by City and Colour

I know posting has been spotty for a while now, but I'm halfway through a proper post for you Velocininjas. In the meantime, here's a pretty love song that's been stuck in my head all week. 

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Short Post and a Song #61: Not a Very Good Metaphor

Dan Rice: It must suck to be the creator of a television show and to have your show cancelled. It’s like the network decides to execute your baby because it wasn’t popular enough at school. (Pause.) That was not a very good metaphor.


“Daydream” by the Beach Fossils

This is a definite soundtrack song. I imagine a convertible gliding along a rainbow-lit street to this song, with the sound of the surf in the background.  

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Short Post and a Song #60: "Superfluous" is a total douche for not being pronounced "super-fluous."

You know those words that you mispronounce for years in your head because you’ve always read them and never actually heard anyone say them out loud? I get mad at those words for not being pronounced the way I originally thought.

Like you, ravine. Raveeeeen. I mean, what the fuck. You should obviously be pronounced “ra-vine” and now I’m angry and feel like I have to read The Secret History all over again. 


"When the Levee Breaks" by Led Zeppelin

I realized I've never featured Led Zeppelin, one of my very favorite bands, on here and that it was a damn shame. For those of you non-New Yorkers who drive ever, this is a great song to cruise to.

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dear Moorhouse rough draft,

Oh, my dear, the times we have had together! I bet you’re laughing now at those naïve comments I made in the early days about how you would be “done in just a few months” since you were “just a kids’ book.”

Comments like those really must have pissed you off, because you went on to take months and months and months—two years from when I first had the idea. You beat me up good, making me wonder at regular intervals if I was good enough to write you. But I kept fighting back one sad little monster sketch at a time.

And now I have vanquished you. You’re still all out of order, like a Picasso painting with your nose where your chin should be. But you’re done and down for the count.

In a few days I’ll get to work un-Picasso-ifying your face. But for now I’m watching a ton of Parks and Recreation and eating victory peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

(I would have victory ice cream, but my battles with you have left me too lazy to go to the store.)

Love always, 

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Short Post and a Song #59: It's all about perspective.

The handle on the cold water faucet in my bathroom is incredibly resistant to being turned off. So resistant, in fact, that I have to use both hands to insure its off-ness. 

I could be annoyed about this one of many bits of ill-repair in my apartment. Instead each time I turn off the cold water faucet, I take it as an opportunity to pretend I am a giant steering a tiny pirate ship in particularly high seas.


"Long, Long Time Ago" by Javier Navarrete

We're back to creepy music this week. This is the theme from the darkly beautiful Pan's Labyrinth. This features on a few of Moorhouse's playlists.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Short Post and a Song #58: Mama Revisa

I'm getting toward the very end of writing my Moorhouse rough draft, which for me is just about the most stressful part of writing a book. Ending Renaissance Lab was a bit easier for me since I had extensively outlined how everything was going to go. I'm doing a lot more pantsing with Moorhouse, which means I'm still not 100% sure how things will go down in its final scenes. 

So I've done a terrible little drawing for me and anyone else nervous about how their books are will tie up:

Next time you get bogged down by the writing blues, just remember Mama Revisa and her calming words of wisdom.


"Satellite" by Guster

I've been a fan of this song for a few years now, though I only recently realized which that it had any name other than "The Dee-Dee-Dee-Dee-Dee-Dee-Dee-Dee Song." I'm pretty sure it's on the soundtrack of something, though I'm not sure what. I like this acoustic version even better than the original; I just love watching that violinist go.

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Short Post and a Song #57: ...Except for Cameron Diaz. If Cameron Diaz is a unicorn, then she's one of the dick ones who tricked Charlie into going to Candy Mountain and stole his kidney.

Movies like It’s Complicated, Something's Gotta Give, and The Holiday are perfectly enjoyable just so long as you think of them as fantasy films, and of their heroines as unicorns wandering through enchanted, beautifully decorated forests.


"Piano Concerto No. 21" by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

I've been listening to Mozart a lot while writing these days. I find his music helps me to be more productive without being a distraction.

I know I've been quiet lately and skipped a few Short Posts and Songs. So here are some more consolation sketches for you. As always, new readers should know that I make sketches to help my writing, and not because I think I'm some kind of Vincent Van Gogh. I'm actually quite happy not to be some kind of Vincent Van Gogh; I very much enjoy having both my ears.

These are some of the main characters in Renaissance Lab, my dystopian novel. I'm a lot better at drawing faces than bodies, so there are many floating heads in all my sketch books. 

More floating heads! These guys are characters from my WIP, Moorhouse, done with my fancy new blue brush pen.

This sketch is a good example of how I never let a lack of space stop me if there is a doodle to be drawn. For some reason I find Mazkin's (the monster on the lower right) expression here endlessly amusing.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Short Post and a Song #56: This is the gift that hipsters give to the world.

Every day when I wake up in the morning in Brooklyn, I know, without a doubt, that no matter what I choose to wear, there will be several people out there who look FAR more ridiculous than I do. So what if my shoes don't match my dress? At least I'm not wearing twelve scarves in eighty degree weather and a pair of stripey glasses I can't see out of.

So thank you for that, hipsters. It takes a lot of pressure off, honestly.


"Sloom" by Of Monsters and Men

Yep, I've featured Of Monsters and Men ONCE AGAIN. This is partly because right after I made a big deal about featuring the band three times on the blog, I turned right around and featured Florence + the Machine for the third time. 

So of course you can see why I had to feature a fourth song by Of Monsters and Men.

My other reason for featuring this band is that I'm SEEING them in concert the day after tomorrow. (!!!!!) My cousins and I will be on the lawn where we won't be able to see a damned thing, but I'm still just so excited to be in the presence of their beautiful, whimsical music live.

P.S. I lied in my earlier post when I said all the Moorhouse-y songs were strung together at the begininning of My Head is an Animal. "Sloom" is one of the later tracks on the album, and it's one of the Moorhouse-iest of the bunch.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Short Post and a Song #55: Seriously, I don't know what they expect us to be able to keep in there. A stick of Juicy Fruit won't even fit in most lady pockets.

Dear designers of women's jeans, pants, and shorts:

I would like pockets into which I could fit more than two Skittles, a button, and a piece of string. 

K, thanks, bye.


"Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall" by The Ink Spots feat. Bill Kenny and Ella Fitzgerald

Here's a golden oldie for you Velocininjas today, all the way back from 1944. This song helped me figure out some important character/relationship development stuff in Moorhouse, and for that I will be eternally grateful.

I know I skipped a Short Post and a Song, and that this one is a few days late. It's a wonder that there hasn't been total anarchy and rioting in the streets as a result. 

So here's a consolation color sketch of three of the monsters in Moorhouse. Longtime readers may recognize earlier incarnations of these critters. Shorttime readers should not expect a beautiful work of art, since that is not how we do things here:

From left to right: Mazkin, Peebles, and Dotted-Line Jack.

Blogging will continue to be even spottier than before until I finish the book, I'm afraid.

But in the meantime, please enjoy the music and the monsters.

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Short Post and a Song #54: The word "vital" means "absolutely necessary" or "essential."

We're doing today like old times, and I'm letting a photo speak in lieu of a joke:

You're sending me mixed messages, Red Mill.


"Girl, Lately Things Have Been Changing" by The Beautiful Girls

Some days I am just in the mood to listen to some bluesy guitar and motherfucking harmonicas, and today is one of those days.

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Short Post and a Song #53: The Makeup Conundrum

Guy: Ugh, women are so annoying with their makeup. Why can't they realize that they'd all be so much more beautiful without it? 

(Sees a woman who is legitimately not wearing any makeup.) 

Guy: Are you feeling all right, ma'am? You look SUPER tired. 


"Over the Love" by Florence + the Machine

I wish I could say this song's significance to me had anything to do with The Great Gatsby. It is, after all, my favorite book if I gun-to-my-head had to have a favorite. I also got to be one of the first to report on the movie, out this weekend, back when it was just a twinkle in Baz Luhrmann's eye.

But no. The reason I'm featuring "Over the Love" this week is because I was writing what will probably be the creepiest scene in Moorhouse (top five at least), and the only way I could get through it was by listening to this and "Seven Devils" over and over on a never-ending loop. It turns out that Florence + the Machine suits demonic dolls and psychotic robot monsters quite well. Is anyone surprised?

Sunday, May 5, 2013

Short Post and a Song #52: George Lass was reincarnated as Jaye Tyler after she finally hit her soul quota, and you will never convince me otherwise.

I've always been sad that there were only two seasons of Dead Like Me, and now I've just realized Wonderfalls exists, and I'm so happy. 

Bryan Fuller, you beautiful, beautiful bastard.


"It's Time" by Imagine Dragons

This song is belongs in the background of a particularly cathartic scene toward the end of a movie; a scene of the fist-pumping variety.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Short Post and a Song #51: I suppose you could also just do his voice in an animated film, but the shrinking thing would be way more impressive.

Dear Michael B. Jordan,

You were one of my most favorite parts of Friday Night Lights. Could you do me a favor and shrink yourself down to an eleven-year-old boy so you can play one of the main characters in my children's novel if it ever gets made into a movie? 

I know the book's not even done yet, much less agented or published. But hey, if it doesn't work out, at least you'll get to do high school all over again. And who doesn't want that?


"Dirty Paws" by Of Monsters and Men

Today's Short Post and a Song is kinda cohesive for once, since like Michael B. Jordan, this song helps me to imagine what a movie adapted from my WIP might look like. "Dirty Paws" would serve as the soundtrack for my imaginary opening credits, which in my mind would take up the entire song and have the moving-through-the-story feel of Daniel Kleinman's Skyfall opening (only with less guns and sexy ladies and more monsters and flying horses).

Of Monsters and Men has officially become the first band that I have featured not just once, not just twice, but three times now on the blog. Not so coincidentally, these are also the first three songs on the album. I've taken to writing by hand on the subway in the morning these past few months, and nothing gets me ready to work on Moorhouse like listening to these three tracks. Not that I don't adore the rest of the album, but fortunately for me, the particularly Moorhouse-y songs are all strung together at the beginning.

Okay, off to go write more of that book. It may have not only been bought by a publisher but sold for film in my dreams, but in reality I've got another 10-15k more words to power through. Onward!

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Book Thief is loosely based on my life. (Not really.)

When I was a kid I visited my local library very, very frequently. I searched high and low for each and every unicorn-adorned book I could find in the children’s section (fellow fantasy-lovers of my generation will remember these unicorn stickers well). When I ran out of unicorn books around age or nine or ten, I wandered over to the adult section to see what wonders it held. 

Unfortunately for me and my local librarian, while I loved taking books out of the library, I was not very good at giving them back. I would tear through them quickly, then get distracted by my ten thousand extracurricular activities—I was on student council, an orange-vested crossing guard, and pretty much always rehearsing for some community play or other—and forget to return the books.

As the months and fees piled up, I still refused to take these books back to the library. It’s not that I thought I deserved these books for free, or didn’t think I should have to pay the late fees. I was just so terrified of disappointing the sweet, plump librarian that I couldn’t stand the thought of facing her and admitting that I had fucked up. 

Eventually I stopped checking books out of the library altogether. Instead I put books in my coat and quite brazenly walked around the alarms by the exit. God bless libraries; their security doesn’t tend to be exactly airtight. I sailed into the worlds of I Capture the Castle and Brave New World on commandeered ships, all because I couldn’t bear the thought that if I officially took the books out of the library, I might end up returning them late and disappointing someone. 

In my ten-year-old mind, stealing books which countless others could have enjoyed seemed a far more logical option than simply, you know, maybe just trying harder to take books back to the library on time.

The moral of this story is that you should never, ever lend a book to me. For all we know that might be just the trigger I need to send me spiraling into a full-scale life of crime. 

P.S. I’ll see you in court, Markus Zusak. 

P.P.S. (Not really.)

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Short Post and a Song #50: Twitter and I have a complicated relationship.

Often I log onto Twitter, full of good intentions to tweet. Then I see tweets like this…

Eating a bran muffin! #OhYeah #LOL #muffinsFTW 

…and I just get depressed.


"Cantaloupe Island" by Herbie Hancock and Georgie Herrera

With this video you have the option to skip the opening conversation and go straight to thirteen-year-old Ecuadorian pianist Georgie Herrara jamming with his idol, jazz/funk legend Herbie Hancock. But I HIGHLY recommend that you don't. 

Prior to jamming, Georgie asks Herbie about the tempo of "9 Over Reggae." And Lord, I just love everything about what happens from there. I'm going to assume that Georgie's dad is the one filming, and he just wants so badly for his kid to get to play something with his idol, while Georgie is all "Shut up, Dad!" 

Georgie asks if Herbie will jam with him on this song (that specific performance with Pat Metheny includes amaze-balls piano and guitar solos, by the way).Then it almost seems like Herbie's not going to play with Georgie but then, BAM, no, he DOES! 

Not only that, but Herbie switches places with the kid to let him solo, then switches back to solo again. He not only gave Georgie a chance to jam with someone he looked up to, but also gave him the opportunity to show off his own considerable improvising skills. 

Damn it's nice when hugely talented people turn out to also not be dicks, am I right?

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Short Post and a Song #49: TV Apparation

Ever since I learned how to spot product placement back when I worked in TV research (yep, it's a thing), I've also been able to pick up on those other unnatural oddities that only exist in TV and never in reality. 

From now on, no matter what show you're watching, watch out for how often people unexpectedly show up outside each other's apartment doors, EVEN THOUGH buzzers exist and would render such an occurrance impossible. 

Just watch.


"It's Only Wednesday" by Tony Beliveau/Crash Kings

It's Sunday, but it's been one of those weeks where I still feel like it's Wednesday. Or maybe it feels like it's next Wednesday already. The point is time gets very weird when you're on the last leg of writing a book.

Did I just say something along the lines of "I'm getting close to done with this book?" 

...Yes. Yes, I did. But let's talk about it once I'm actually done. I shouldn't be distracted too much longer, though, Velocininjas.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Short Post and a Song #48: He should write plot summaries for IMDB.

Me: Do you remember Dark City?

Dr. Daniel Schreber: I remember that it's noirish ... and that it has that guy from those other movies.

Me: That may be the best description of a movie I have ever heard.


"Ho Hey" by Lennon and Maisy Stella

This is not the first time I've featured music from Nashville. There are a lot of absurdly talented people involved with that show and certainly not the least of which are Lennon and Maisy Stella, the thirteen and nine-year-old real-life sisters who play Connie Britton's daughters. I never even particularly liked the Lumineers' version of the song, but I can't seem to stop listening to this cover.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

UPDATED: Short Post and a Song #47: I know there are literally thousands of better things you could be doing with your time, Supreme Court.

I get so tired trying to follow all the Supreme Court/gay marriage hoopla. Not because I don't support gay marriage 100%, but because a voice in my head keeps screaming, "Why is this even a QUESTION?"

Should gay people be allowed to get married? Of course. Yes. It's just "common goddamn sense."


"I'm Sexy and I Know It" by LMFAO

Happy Easter, Velocininjas! Or Happy Sunday to those of you who don't observe the holiday commemorating when Jesus rose from the dead to aid Detective Easter Bunny in solving the Great Egg Heist as his Zombie Watson. 

Either way, please enjoy this video of Steve Kardynal roller skate dancing in Venice Beach. 

P.S. I'm Jewish so my knowledge of Christianity is limited.

P.P.S. I'm a little shocked by how many requests I've gotten for a drawing of Detective Easter Bunny and Zombie Watson Jesus investigating the Great Egg Heist since yesterday's post. I never could have predicted there would be a day when you kids would actually ASK me to use my sub-par drawing skills, and am now feeling very flattered and also a little worried about your mental health.

But anyway, here you go, you weirdlings:

I think it's safe to say we're all going to hell.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Short Post and a Song #46: I Swear

I wonder if the novel I'm working on should be subtitled: Children Drinking Delicious Beverages. There's hella tasty beverages up in this bitch.

P.S. I don’t swear in the actual novel, I swear.

P.P.S. Fuck, phrasing.

P.P.P.S Goddamn it, parents, you know what I mean.


"Girl Is On My Mind" by The Black Keys

There are some people who shall remain nameless (ahem, hipsters) who would automatically put the Black Keys down as being too mainstream or "generically enjoyable." I don't know what that means either; don't ask me. 

To those people I say a polite but earnest SHUT YOUR WHORE MOUTH. Just because a band has hit success and managed to make a dime or two off their work doesn't mean that they don't still have something important and special to contribute to music. Contrary to the popular belief that rock stars live off booze and a cocktail of hallucinogenics and pills, they actually need food and shelter to survive—both of which cost money. 

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Short Post and a Song #45: Answer me these riddles three ... and then I promise we'll totally get brunch sometime—maybe in June?—okay, I love you, byeee!!

Writing a book is a bit like becoming a troll for a few months. You spend the vast majority of your time hunkered under a bridge, alone. When people do walk by, you ask three questions:

"How have you been?" 

"How's work going?" 


"How's the boy/girlfriend (substitute 'dog,' 'book,' 'script,' 'short film,' 'baby,' etc. for 'boy/girlfriend' where applicable)?"

Then the people move along and you get back to your hunkering.


"Take a Walk" by Passion Pit

Because we all need a dance break every now and then. 

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Short Post and a Song #44: Some writerly advice to my writer bros.

Don’t obsess about each and every sentence as you write—think of them as puzzle pieces. You can't even begin to think about solving a puzzle until you've got all the pieces, right? So just keep going. 

Then, once you're done, you can pick at and rearrange those pieces to your heart's content.


"Bright Lights" by Gary Clark Jr.

Gary Clark Jr. sounds how Jimi Hendrix and Stevie Ray Vaughan's gay love child would sound if he were cryogenically frozen, woke up in present day with amnesia, and was nursed back to health/retaught to play guitar by the Black Keys. In a word, awesome.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Short Post and a Song #43: Have you ever not wanted to punch a camera-talker in the face? I'll try to keep an open mind.

I can't think of a single instance in which an actor talking directly to the camera in a movie or show has been a good idea. I'm not talking about mockumentaries like The Office or Parks and Recreation; I'm talking about when we are right in the middle of a scene and an actor starts chatting to the camera like it's his buddy or confidante. It always just distracts me from what's going on in the plot and makes me think, "Stop talking to the camera, you douche."


"San Solomon" by Balmorhea

Balmorhea is a fantastic band to listen to while writing. You notice the music enough for it to be inspiring, but not enough for it to be distracting. The beautiful piano, guitar, and strings fade into a soothing background. There's something so bittersweet about this particular tune—it's somehow both hopeful and melancholy.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Dear Microsoft Word AutoCorrect,

Today I was working on my children's novel and, quite innocently I thought, decided to use the word "peckish." You decided that by "peckish" I really meant to say "puckish" and that wasn't gonna get by you—no, sir, not old M-Wordsley. So you went right ahead and fixed that for me.

But I did not in fact meant to say "puckish." "Peckish" and "puckish" mean two completely different things. If someone says he's "feeling a bit peckish," then he is announcing in an adorably British manner that his belly is rumbling for some fish and chips and bangers and mash. 

Conversely, if this person says he's "feeling a bit puckish," that probably means that he wants to have sex with everyone or make people have sex with the wrong people or whatever it was that Puck did in A Midsummer Night's Dream (high school was a long time ago).

I tried to change "puckish" back to "peckish" over and over but you just kept switching it back again. What is wrong with you, man? Are you so determined to get your twisted smut into our schools that you're willing to sneak it in through a fantasy story about monsters and talking animals?

Good DAY, Microsoft Word AutoCorrect. Good day.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Short Post and a Song #42: O'Reilly

Due to this festering case of Book-Writing I've come down with, I failed to get my shit together enough to even manage a Short Post for this week. I'm sorry about that, but until next week, please enjoy these pictures of the nuthatch who flew into my parents' house one night while I was home over the holidays. Despite our efforts to get him to go back outside, he remained in our home for hours until he quite matter-of-factly walked out the back door. I named him O'Reilly.

O'Reilly found himself drawn to the top of the refrigerator.

He also became quite enamored of my mother's artwork. A bird of fine taste.

This picture is blurry and horrible, but can you see him peeking out of the flowers? Aw, O'Reilly. The times we had. I miss you, buddy.


"Your Hands (Together)" by The New Pornographers

If you've been looking for some good music to accompany writing action scenes, look no further: This song is utterly badass. It reminds me a bit of "Eye of the Tiger," except it doesn't instantly bring G.O.B. performing magic on Arrested Development to mind. I haven't decided whether or not that's a good thing, but it does tend to be less distracting while writing as a result. 

The music video is pretty great as well. There are dancing ninjas. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Short Post and a Song #41: Just don't say I never did anything for you, English Majors.

A tip to my English majors out there:

When stumped on your final essay, just write, "All the characters in this novel were really in a mental hospital the whole time and were operating under a joint delusion.” It works for any story and is the kind of literary speculative bullshit that is impossible to disprove.


"Mountain Sound" by Of Monsters and Men

I know I just recently featured another song by this band. But My Head is an Animal has quickly become just one of my most favorite albums, and I will not rest until it is one of yours as well. This song is three and a half minutes of Instant Good Mood. I give it to you, just in case you don't also have a three-day weekend and woke up bummed about that. I mean, I would be if I didn't have a three-day weekend. 

By the way, did I mention that I actually have a four-day weekend?

Yes, yes, that's right, my Velocininjas. You listen to "Mountain Sound" until the pain goes away.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Short Post and a Song #40: This is perhaps why I've never pursued a career in directing.

When I was in sixth grade I directed a play at my school about Rosa Parks. And let me tell you, it is not fun to be the kid who has to explain (repeatedly) to ten other incredibly sheltered white Ohio children why doing a play in blackface would be a HORRIBLE idea.


"Feels Like We Only Go Backwards" by Tame Impala

Tame Impala reminds me a lot of one of my all-time favorite bands, the Beatles, and that's not a comparison that I make lightly. Frontman Kevin Parker has a distinctly John Lennon-ish vibe to his voice and music. And like the Beatles' post-Revolver music videos, Tame Impala's music videos have the power to convince a stone cold sober person that he or she must be on some kind of drugs.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Short Post and a Song #39: I know you're out there somewhere, Crazy Cat Lady BFF, and I will find you.

I would really like to make friends with a crazy cat lady someday. I love cats but am fairly allergic and also enjoy owning black clothing that isn’t covered in cat hair. So a crazy cat lady friend would be the ideal solution. I could go and pet old Georgina’s fifteen cats every so often, and sip lemonade and eat butterscotch candies and listen to Georgie’s tales of life in the theatre.


"King and Lionheart" by Of Monsters and Men

While writing Renaissance Lab, I had a very special moment with a very special song. The song was "In the Backseat" by Arcade Fire, and when I first heard it I suddenly understood my protagonist in a new, much deeper way. Two days ago I had almost that exact same experience with Moorhouse and "King and Lionheart." Whenever I hear this song, I know exactly who my protagonist is, what she wants, and what makes her special. 

I'm not going to share how many times I've listened to this song on obsessive repeat, nor how many times I've watched the beautifully whimsical music video. I'll just say an enormous thank you to Of Monsters and Men, Arcade Fire, and all the other songwriters who write the music that makes so many other jobs in this world that much easier. 

I'll leave you with the quote that always comes to mind when I think of how grateful I am to the people who write the songs that guide my writing, by Stephen Chbosky from The Perks of Being a Wallflower:

“And I thought about how many people have loved those songs. And how many people got through a lot of bad times because of those songs. And how many people enjoyed good times with those songs. And how much those songs really mean. I think it would be great to have written one of those songs. I bet if I wrote one of them, I would be very proud. I hope the people who wrote those songs are happy. I hope they feel it's enough. I really do because they've made me happy. And I'm only one person.”