Sunday, November 9, 2014

Short Post and a Song #90: Exaggerbating

Danomatic arrived home from the store to find me sitting in a dark room.

Me: You turned off the light when you left.

Iron Dan: So you just sat here in the dark this whole time? You sat and stewed in your anger thinking, "Fuck him, he can turn on his own goddamn light."

Me: Hey, I was just feeling lazy!

Enter SandDan: I know. I was just exaggerbating. (Pauses) We've got to see if "exaggerbating" is something people have already come up with.

It turns out people already have. But I like Little Danpeep's use of it better. 


"Wolf Like Me" by TV On The Radio

There's something distinctly badass about this song.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Short Post and a Song #89: Immediately afterward he remarked: "And then I probably would have gotten shot."

Dangelina Jolie as we passed by a few policemen on our street: I just want to yell, "You'll never take me alive, coppers!" and take off running.


"Death Letter" by The White Stripes

This is one of my all-time favorite covers. I didn't even realize it was a cover until about a month ago. With all respect to Son House, I dig this version way more than the original. You just can't beat Meg White's drumming on this track.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

Short Post and a Song #88: He has a point.

101 Danmations: You really want to see Gone Girl?

Me: Yeah.

The Dancredible Hulk: My client told me Ben Affleck just acts like Ben Affleck and doesn't fit the character from the book at all.

Me: Yeah, I would have probably cast Bradley Cooper.

Yellow Danmarine: Is that the guy from Inception?

Me: No ... why do you always ask if every actor I mention was in Inception?

Danleberry Finn: Hey, there are like five guys of the same generation of actors in one movie. Whenever you mention a random actor, there's a good chance he was in Inception.


"Little Bird" by The White Stripes

I was into the album "Elephant" by The White Stripes in a big way back in high school, but lately I've found that I like their older album "De Stijl" even better. It's just got a great bluesy feel to it and also has the magical power of making me about twice as productive whenever I listen to it while writing.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Sneezing on the Subway

It is rare when I sneeze that I sneeze only once. I usually have to sneeze ten or twelve times before that infernal tingling in my nose finally ceases.

Sometimes this avalanche of sneezes possesses me on the subway or train. When it does, this is generally what happens:

Me: (Sneeze)

Stranger: God bless you.

Me: (Sneeze)

Stranger: God bless you.

Me: (Sneeze)

Stranger: (Glare) Bless you.

Me: (Sneeze)

Stranger: YOU DON'T DESERVE GOD'S BLESSINGS, YOU SNEEZING BITCH! YOU GO TO HELL! (Rips shirt off in a mindless rage and runs off to another car, never to be seen again)

I might be exaggerating slightly, but you get the idea.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Short Post and a Song #87: FIRE. AND BALLS.

I saw this advertisement on the train the other day and it gave me a chuckle: 

I had an idea to improve the advertisement and thought I'd share it with you all:


"I Got" by Young the Giant

Like so many Young the Giant songs, most of this song's lyrics don't really make sense. But I can't help loving the refrain: "I got buried/No, it won't be long/Before I rise in song". As someone who's been through her share of depression, it's a very comforting thought.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Dear Chef Boyardick,

A few nights ago I stopped by the deli, as I often do, for two bottles of SmartWater on my way home from work. You stood ahead of me at the cash register put your items down on the counter even though the guy ahead of you hadn't finished paying. 

These items consisted of a bottle of Poland Spring water, a sandwich, and three cans of Chef Boyardee.

The guy in front of you quickly grabbed his change and left, then you looked the cashier over as he ran up the items on the counter. "I've seen you stocking the shelves and sweeping," you said. "Now you're behind the register? What kind of sense does that make?"

The cashier, who perhaps didn't have the best grasp on the English language, didn't respond. The cashier took an extra second perhaps in ringing you up, and you were not having it. 

"Just put the stuff in the bag; it's not that big a deal," you snapped.

Another cashier swooped in and began handling your order. 

While this man rang you up, you looked at me and the two bottles in my arms. "Does that stuff work?" you asked, friendly and cordial, as though you hadn't just potentially created a well of insecurity in this poor man who was probably excited to start his first day at the cashier after years of sweeping and stocking from which he will never really recover.

"What?" I asked. "You mean SmartWater?"


"I don't know ... it tastes better."

You launched into a story about some show you'd seen where bottled water manufacturers filled water bottles of different brands with a garden hose.

"Well the pipes are rusty in my building, so," I began.

But as soon as the second cashier bagged your items, you were out the door, rushing toward the Pastapalooza you clearly had planned when you got home.

Since you left before I could tell you, I thought I'd leave this on the big old Internet in case you might ever see it: 

You, sir, are an Asshole with a capital "A".

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Short Post and a Song #86: So you're only supposed to call your friends bitches, I guess?

A few days ago I was on a very crowded subway train. To the left was a sardine-can clusterfuck of people, while to the right there was plenty of free space. 

One woman couldn't take it. She tapped another woman on the shoulder and said, "Could you please move down? There's space down there."

The second woman blinked. "But there are people next to me. I can't just move."

"You selfish bitch!" the first woman exclaimed.

As I left the train, I could hear the second woman muttering to the first, "You can't just call someone a bitch who you don't know..."


"Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll" by The Killers

This song is an old friend of mine. It's not my favorite song by The Killers, but for some reason whatever I'm writing seems to come out easier when I'm listening to "Glamorous Indie Rock & Roll".

Thursday, September 25, 2014

How Paper Beats Rock

I drew this garbage fest of a drawing a few days ago. I thought I should probably redraw it if I was going to even think of posting it on the blog. You can't even tell the rock is supposed to be crying; the tears just make him look like a pizza. He kind of looked like a pizza to begin with. Definitely never like a rock.

But despite its shittiness, this drawing still makes me laugh. So I thought I'd post it in case it might make you laugh, too.

A more substantial post will be coming at you next week. I know I've said that before, but I've actually already written it, so that shit is locked down. 

(And no, Sarah, it's not my writing process post.)

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Short Post and a Song #85: Dear Actresses of the World,

I'm very sorry that your industry is full of executives who routinely tell women in their thirties that they have too many wrinkles. But please, please don't get plastic surgery on your face. Your face is your job--you use it to convey emotions. And that doesn't work so well when certain parts of your face don't move. 

Don't sacrifice being good at what you do for bastards who have worked in Hollywood too long to even remember what real people look like.


"We Intertwined" by The Hush Sound

For reasons I can't quite articulate, I've been obsessed with this song for weeks. I couldn't even tell you how many times I've listened to it. 

The thing is, objectively, I don't like this song. The lead singer's voice is a little too whiny and Fall-Out-Boyian for me. And according to CapDan Crunch, the song has too much of a "me too" sound to it, like he's heard it somewhere before.

But I still can't help but adore this song's lyrics, drums, light beat (especially the part around 2:15 when the guitar just sneaks in with a sweet little solo). 

So which is it, Velocininjas? Is this song actually decent, or after two years of writing about music has my taste devolved back to falling in love with Panic at the Disco and All-American Rejects clones? 

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Short Post and a Song #84: Laziness at its finest.

Reservoir Dans and I have a deal set up for when we order food: Whoever pays doesn't have to get the delivery when it comes. 

We both consider dropping $50 on a delivery on par with walking twenty steps through our apartment to the door.


"Lyin' Eyes" by The Eagles

Last week I went to an Eagles concert in New Jersey. We were up in the nosebleeds, as per usual. However far away we were, it was pretty damn cool to see a band that was around in 1977 still rocking it out. 

I feature this particular tune because it was the first rhythm guitar I ever learned. Excited, I tried to show off my newly acquired musical genius to anyone who would listen. But no one can ever recognize rhythm guitar on its own, so they'd just squint their eyes and cock their heads to the side and eventually inquire hesitantly, "Sweet Home Alabama?"

Still a great song, though.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Short Post and a Song #83: Any day you don't get kicked in the face is a good day, I guess.

Yesterday a group of teenaged boys set up a boom box and started doing flips and aerials through the subway, climbing on the poles and spinning around. Afterward they solicited donations. The man across from me offered one boy a few dollars.

Boy: Hey thanks, man. Glad you enjoyed the show.

Man: I wasn't even paying attention. But you managed not to kick me in the face, and I respect that.


"14 Arms" by Crash Kings

Danceratops and I have a few disagreements about this song. I think the screaming is "fun" and "awesome" while he thinks the singer would "come a lot closer to hitting the notes if he actually sang them". I think the lyrics are "fun" and "awesome" while he doesn't think they "make any goddamned sense".

Let me know whose side you fall on, Velocininjas. I recommend you use the words "fun" and "awesome" in your comments because they just describe this song so well.

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Short post and a Song #82: We have a fish at my office, and it's really fucking with my head.

Spending Labor Day weekend at the lake house has made me wonder what happens to the fish who go back to their fish families with hooks forever lodged in their lips. Are they shunned for their deformity, or embraced as the cool badasses with lip rings who have seen a thing or two?


"The Vitamin String Quartet at the 2012 NAMM Show Breakfast Sessions"

I haven't blogged in a while, I know, so today you get four songs instead of one! I featured these guys a while ago but have since gotten into them in a big way. Not gonna lie, if that lady violinist was like, "Run away with me, Jillian," Obi Dan Kenobi and I might have to have a talk. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Short Post and a Song #81: How the subway is making me a terrible person.

On the 5 train I saw a woman who was holding the pole by looping both her arms around it, somewhat like my old friend from the F.

But while Rude Subway Girl just didn't give a fuck, this woman obviously gave many fucks. Her fucks just didn't happen to have anything to do with the subway. 

She was slumped over the pole with her face bowed and pushed right up against her phone. One of her hands cradled her head, as though she couldn't stand the effort of holding it up.

Instead of maybe wanting to help this poor, beleaguered woman, I spent the entire ride thinking at her:

"Look, I can tell you're going through some shit right now. But you need to GET OVER IT and hold the pole properly."


"Shelter Song" by Temples

I got to see these guys for free in the city last week and was impressed by both their musical acumen and extreme Britishness. If every one of these guys doesn't dream of telling the audience that they are the BEAT-uls, I will eat my hat.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Short Post and a Song #80: (With imaginary special guest title reader, Jerry Seinfeld) What is the DEAL with airline advertising?

Luke Danwalker and I saw this advertisement while waiting for the subway:

Me: (Looks at Save the Last DANce, then back at the advertisement) That's an advertisement for a travel website. What are they saying about crying babies here? What ... what happens to the crying babies?

Air Marshal Dan: If a baby cries on an flight, that baby will be tased.

Me: Or pitched overboard.

Dan Draper: That's just the sort of service you can expect from


"My Body" by Young the Giant

I was singing this irresistably catchy song while doing the dishes and Dandrake glanced over at me from where he was putting steak on the grill:

Dan Valdan: They should play that song during the hot dog eating contest on the Fourth of July.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Short Post and a Song #79: What happens every time we consider getting a pet.

Danfy Duck: We should get a cat today.

Me: Let's do it. And then it will be the very best kitten ever. And then it will need some $2,000  surgery.

Danily Guy: Because it has a rare form of kitten dia-BEET-us?

Me: Exactly. Because it has a rare form of kitten dia-BEET-us.

Cheese Dannish: And then we'd have to set it free on the streets of New York because we can't afford the surgery. (Sigh) What a short, tragic life our kitten will lead.


"Not Fit" by Tea Leaf Green

The piano is my favorite aspect of this song. It's got a jazzy vibe to it that I dig a lot. 

So I know a while ago I said I would post proper posts more often, rather than just Short Posts and a Songs on Sundays (gotta love 'dat alliteration, though). But then I got my first full-time job ever and have still not gotten used to going in each and every day like a normal, functioning human.

Stay tuned, though, Velocininjas. I'll be posting something more substantial soon, mostly because my critique partner Sarah tagged me in the Writing Process Blog tour, and she's just too much of a badass for me to refuse her.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Short Post and Song #78: Special Agent Jillian of the Pizza Crimes Unit

On the train back from Pennsylvania:

Me: (Sniffs) I smell pizza. I want it.

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Dan: Yeah, I smell pizza too.

Me: I should walk up to whoever has pizza and say, "I'm afraid I'm going to have to confiscate that pizza, sir."

Dance Dance Revolution: Then you should sit right across from him and start eating his pizza. If he tries to stop you, just ask, "Are you harassing a government employee?"

Me: That doesn't even necessarily imply that I am a government employee.

Raggedy Dan: And yet he'll stop bothering you and just let you eat his pizza.

Me: Genius.


"Old Yellow Bricks" by the Arctic Monkeys

There's something very comforting to me about listening to the Arctic Monkeys. Suddenly I'm back in college and awkwardly dancing around in my dorm room, praying my roommate won't barge in and conclude that I'm even weirder than she originally thought. But I keep dancing, because the Arctic Monkeys are playing and I just can't not dance.

I know that it was just the Fourth of July and that the Arctic Monkeys are a British band. But I've spent the last three Independence Days respectively hanging out in Paris (the ultimate enemy of all things 'merican), watching TV on my desk chair because I didn't (and still don't) own a couch, and eating dinner at a lakefront restaurant which faced away from the fireworks. 

So basically I am a fucking rebel who doesn't really care that much about the Fourth of July or fireworks.

If you'll excuse me, I've got some awkward Arctic Monkey jamming to get back to.  

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Short Post and a Song #77: This little girl may be my new favorite.

I overheard a little girl on a scooter when she and her mother were walking ahead of me in Manhattan:

Little girl: I wanna go in an antigravity chamber. In the chamber I'll be like, "WHOOOOOOOOOOA!!!" And then I'll be like, "Ow, my head!"


"Big Coat" by Wiretree

I can't say I totally get this music video, but it's a beautiful song.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Short Post and a Song #76: We two assholes were made for each other.

Walking down the street with Dantrick Swayze:

Dan Tracy: Oh, it looks like Essential Cakes closed.

Me: Hmm, I guess their cakes weren't so essential after all.

Dan Wars: A New Hope: (Pauses on the sidewalk to look at me.) Jill, that's somebody's hopes and dreams! They invested their life's savings, and you're making a pun?

Me: (Pause, then a slow laugh.) I laugh at their misfortune. 

(Long silence.) 

Me: Are you rethinking your life decisions? Are you thinking about what a horrible person I am?

Dancent Vega: No. I just noticed a guy on a bike wearing tons of gear, heading towards us at top speed and taking his biking so seriously, and I wanted to yell, "Slow down, Lance Armstrong!"


"Battle Without Honor Or Humanity" by Tomoyasu Hotei

I just rewatched Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and remembered why Quentin Tarantino is most likely my favorite filmmaker of all time. Every frame in that movie is a fucking masterpiece. Its theme has never been missing from any workout mix I've ever made. Generally I spend much more time making workout mixes than I do actually working out.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Short Post and a Song #75: The editing notes I give myself.

Dear Past Jillian,

Lowercase "q" is not a "g." I know they look similar, and I know that's confusing for you. 

But come on. Opague? Really?

Get it together.


Present Jillian


"Requiem for a Tower" by Escala

There's something magical about this re-arrangement of the "Requiem for a Dream" theme, played by an all-girl string quartet. It's the xylophone that really does it for me.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Short Post and a Song #74: I would buy the DVD of a movie I didn't even like just for that blooper reel.

Friday night Batdan and I watched Don Jon, a meh movie starring Joseph Gordon Levitt as a young man addicted to internet porn.

Dan Jan: (As the closing credit begin to roll) All right, now it's time for the all bloopers of Joseph Gordon Levitt pretending to masturbate.

We were both very disappointed when this did not turn out to be the case.


"Life in Technicolor II" by Coldplay

I've loved this song for years and it proved very useful when I was doing some feverish work on my new WIP yesterday and came out with 5,000 words. It occurred to me afterward that I'd never actually seen this song's music video, so I set out to change that.

And it is so fucking weird! Coldplay is doing a show at a church birthday party or something, only they're puppets for some reason. The kids in the audience look as confused by the directorial choices in this video as I am. Around 3:29, the dude with a camera realizes that he's catching puppets without strings on camera and will therefore become filthy rich. I'm surprised it took him three and a half minutes to realize that, but I guess the clowns on flaming motorcycles are what convinced him.

Yet despite its weirdness (or probably BECAUSE of it), I love this music video. It suits my WIP perfectly, especially when puppet Will Champion gives a little girl a miniature set of drumsticks at the end.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Short Post and a Song #73: The Last Jumper Cables in the World

Danold Duck and I walked to the corner deli late Friday night and heard music loudly pumping through the open window of a parked red car where a young woman sat in the front seat.

On our way home ten minutes later the car music was still going strong, filling the entire street with its synthetic beats.

Danglorious Basterd: She's going to kill her battery. (Pause.) I wish I had the last jumper cables in the world just so I could tell her she couldn't have them.


"Hold Me Tight" by the Beatles

This is not my favorite Beatles song, but it's the one that's been stuck in my head all week. My roommates have had the treat of being serenaded with this song each time I've done the dishes this week. 

Go forth, Velocininjas, and annoy your own roommates with this sprightly tune.

Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Short Post and a Song #72: Funny bodega cashier who apparently hates his cat.

At a bodega with Dancho Chile:

Cashier: How old are you?

Dansmanian Devil: Twenty-five.

Cashier: Okay, I trust you. 

Dantankerous Dan: Babe, do you want anything?

Cashier: (Notices me playing with the black bodega cat.) Do you want the cat? Take it!

Me: (Laughs awkwardly and continues to pet the adorable cat.)

Cashier: (As we're leaving) Seriously, please take the cat!


"Like Ships Need the Sea" by Emily Hearn

I featured this lovely lady once before but am featuring her again since she's doing a Kickstarter for the money she needs to produce her next album. If you've got a few dollars to blow, I highly recommend kicking them in her direction. 

P.S. I know this is a few days late. Sorry, Velocininjas. This last week has been crazy. Regular blog posts will resume Sunday.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Short Post and a Song #71: How I feel about promotional emails when I am waiting to hear about something important:


"Into the Sunshine" by Julia Nunes

I was recently introduced to Julia Nunes' music and have been happily frolicking through her YouTube archives since. Oh how I love the sound of a voice that hasn't been produced to death! The combination of a ukulele, guitar, and vocal layering here results in a wonderfully upbeat song that won't get out my head. 

I also recommend checking out "The Debt," which involves some pretty badass vocal percussion. 

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Character and Plot Development Through Drawing

I'm in the midst of conceptualizing two new projects and in both cases I've got a cast of characters and a general premise, but not much plot to speak of. I've done a vague outline for one project whose working title is The Door Under the Staircase (or DUS for short). It feels very thin though, and not terribly original. 

A bit of writerly advice: Never start writing your book unless you have the general plot in place first. With my first book I started with just a premise and no plot and the rough draft ended up being 1,000 pages long. 

While waiting for the rest of DUS's plot to come to me, I decided to work a bit more on my characters. I can already tell this is going to be a pretty character-driven story, and fluffing up the characters a bit in my mind should help me figure out where I want the plot to go.

So I did a rough (emphasis on the rough) sketch of two of my main characters:

This doodle is less about what the characters look like, and more about their relationship. Staring at it helps me to figure out where these two characters are at the start of the book, and where I want them to end up.

I hope some of my shitty drawings inspire you guys to sketch out your own characters. No matter what your level of artistic skill, having any visual representation of your characters can help you to flesh them out. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Short Post and a Song #70: The Glorious Smells of Brooklyn

When I went out for my morning coffee run, I overheard a group of tween girls walking ahead of me:

Girl #1: Brooklyn definitely has a smell. It smells like pee.

Girl #2: (Sniffs) I don't smell pee.

Girl #3: (Sniffs) I think it smells like Florida.

Does this mean Brooklyn smells like Florida? Or that Florida smells like pee? The girls took off walking in a different direction after that, so I guess we'll never know.


"Alive with the Glory of Love" by Say Anything

This is a great song to get you in the right mood to write a mushy, love-dovey scene. You know, the kind with kissing. Those are some of my favorite scenes to write, even if it makes me feel slightly lame to admit it. I like writing scenes with swords and kicking and punching, too, dammit.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Short Post and a Song #69: To Catch a Predator at the Brooklyn Flea

Me: I saw the weirdest buttons at the Flea today.

Daninmaniac: Buttons?

Me: Like the kind you wear? One said, "If little girls are made of sugar and spice, why do they taste like tuna?"

Dan Rather: Oh god. Oh god.

Me: I know! It was very disturbing.

Dancelot: I bet there was somebody from To Catch a Predator hiding out at that stall. And if anyone bought the button they'd be like, "Gotcha." 

I did not think to take a photo of the button, mostly because no one should ever have to see that horrible thing again, but here's another picture from the Flea:

Brookyln, where we love America in the creepiest and most random way possible.


"Moon Song" by Scarlett Johansson and Joaquin Phoenix

Her is one of my favorite films in recent times. It explores the idea of a human finding love with an operating system in a realistic and profoundly touching way. The soundtrack is fantastic, as evidenced by this sweet little tune. 

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Short Post and a Song #68: Someone out there thinks I'm a real comedian. ...Maybe. Probably not.

Someone recently found the blog by searching "comedian jillian on chopped." They were probably searching for information about a funny chick named Jillian who went on Chopped at some point, but I am going to pretend that the random searcher was looking for me and this post

Thank you, random searcher, for making me feel like a real comedian—even if it was just an accident.


"Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk" by Rufus Wainwright

I'm officially querying with Moorhouse and am trying to put it out of my head by doing some editing on Renaissance Lab. I got mostly good feedback on it from agents who requested it but the only people who really seemed to love it were the assistants who read through to the end, and not the agents who read just the first fifty to one hundred pages. So I'm trying to see if I can't infuse the feel of the rest of the novel into the beginning, or perhaps hack off the beginning altogether.

This song is on my Renaissance Lab playlist and it felt like a reunion of sorts when I put it on and started reading through my old pages. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Short Post and a Song #67: Profound green beans and rainforest cottage cheese.

Making dinner with Marcus Danuelson:

Penne ala Danka: What do you think about putting some maple honey mustard into the green beans almondine?

Me: I think the texture might be weird.

Flourless Danlate Cake: No, it'll be good, you'll see. (Pauses, then whispers,) This is Chopped

Me: Aarón Sánchez will be like, "Your use of the mustard with the green beans was very profound."

Chicken Dansala: Someday Aarón Sánchez is gonna be like, "The rhythm of your cream cheese was rainforest."

Me: I would love it if he eventually got so vague that he just started using random words that made no sense whatsoever.

Eggplant Danigiana: I was thinking the same thing.


"On the Bus Mall" by the Decemberists

This song always makes me sigh in a happy sort of way. It's another soundtrack song for me; it should be in the background of a group of friends driving in a convertible through beautiful scenery.