Sunday, August 20, 2017

Short Post and a Song #127: right in the brain face


me: got a lot of work to do, better get a large coffee today

brain: you know coffee will only increase your anxiety and actually make it harder for you focus on work

me: *slaps brain right in the brain face* shut up idiot



~*~*~*~*~

"Hey" by The Pixies




I first became familiar with The Pixies the same way I get into a lot of bands: I heard one of their songs in a movie I loved. The movie in question was Fight Club, and the song was the wonderful "Where is My Mind?".

Much as I adore that song, this one was the first Pixies song that really shifted me into full "Holy shit this band is amazing" mode. "Hey" manages to sound bluesy, rocky, and punky all at once. And everything going on guitar and bass-wise from 1:15-2:05 is so great it makes the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.

This song is also good for writing deeply emotional scenes. I've used it more for pretty passionately unhappy scenes, but it could also work well for a cathartic kissing scene (as it does in this scene from "How I Met Your Mother"). That kind of versatility is just one more reason "Hey" is one of my very favorite songs.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Buy me some jeans then

You might be surprised to see me here on a Saturday. You might be thinking, "What the fuck is this, she only blogs on Sundays anymore." 

I don't know why you sound hypothetically hostile over this. Like many others, you probably have trouble embracing change.

I'm sorry this has been pretty much the "Short Post and a Song" blog for so long; it wasn't intentional. But I do have a few longer things in the works for the blog, which should be popping up in September sometime.

A lot of the online writing I've been doing these days has been telling jokes over on Twitter. It helps me practice being concise and being funny, both things I want to bring to my fiction writing (or at least that's what I tell myself). 

There's also a lovely community of jokesters who are some of the nicest, funniest, most supportive people you'll ever meet through your computer screen. We have joke contests sometimes, and I started drawing my winners' tweets as their prizes. I also drew a few for friends' birthdays

I recently had a tweet I liked do pretty decent, so I decided to try drawing it too, and thought I'd post it over here as well:

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Short Post and a Song #126: I'm still gonna practice my wood-punching, just in case.


Watching Kill Bill Vol. 2 makes me nervous about whether or not I'll be able to punch my way out when I get buried alive.

...And then I wonder why I'm so sure I'm going to be buried alive at some point in my life.



~*~*~*~*~


"You Never Can Tell" by Chuck Berry




Like "Misirlou" and "Stuck in the Middle with You", "You Never Can Tell" has become a Tarantino song to me first, and a regular song second. It's the song Vincent Vega and Mia Wallace dance to in a contest they later win (or at least steal the trophy to make it look like they won). 

I saw Pulp Fiction at age seven and many, many more times since then, so this song and that scene in the movie are inextricably linked in my mind. 

Still, when "You Never Can Tell" recently popped up on a playlist of mine, I was finally able to notice what a great song it is without John Travolta and Uma Thurman's Twist moves distracting me. This is an amazingly fun song. And just listen to that piano! No wonder all the icons of rock and roll stole their songs from Chuck Berry.

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Short Post and a Song #125: What a cute, little boo-boo bear!


Guys! Since we don't have much of the book left, this is going to be the last day of our "Amerex: Land of the Unicorns" adventures. I hope you've enjoyed it, or at least had a kind of "meh" sort of feeling about the whole thing.





Translation: "What a cute, little boo-boo bear!" Then Jenna started to laugh. 

Kindor yelled, "What? No!" And he disappeared. When she got back to the castle Dolly had a huge smile on her face. 

"You've broken the spell!" That night the royal family held a huge banquet in Jen's honor. Then she went to sleep.


So the super funny yet also suspenseful thing the grandma said was "What a cute little boo-boo bear"? I feel gypped.




Translation: She woke up in her own bed. As long as Jenna lived she never had another dream like that but she never forgot Amerex: Land of the Unicorns.

The End


I'm so glad that I said "Amerex: Land of the Unicorns" one last time before the end of the book.




Translation: About the Author

Jill Karger is, 11 years old. She goes to Parkview and has two sisters. She loves acting, singing and dancing. She is very excited about her first hardcover book!


Aaaand it's over! Thanks, guys, this was a fun little trip down memory lane for me. 

You may have noticed that I said in my "About the Author" that this was my first hardcover book. Implying that at age eleven I had already written softcover books. As luck would have it I found one of them the other day, and will regale you with its powerful prose next time I run out of jokes.

The other book is a total rip-off of that Olsen twins movie It Takes Two, only there are two sets of twins. 

The title?

It Takes Four, obviously.


~*~*~*~*~


"She's a Riot" by The Jungle Giants





Spotify Discover tracked this song down for me and I've been listening to it a lot while writing, or walking around thinking about writing (something I do kind of a lot). The part of the song I'm most in love is most definitely the guitar line, and it makes me like the song even more now that I know a badass chick with amazing hair plays it.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Short Post and a Song #124: When my eleven-year-old self beats me at writing.





Translation: "I guess so," Jen said. Jenna ate a big dinner and slept in one of the many guest rooms. The next day she took a chariot to Kindors cave. She slowly went into the cave.

"Hello!" She hollered with a shivering voice. Then she saw two glowing, red eyes. Jenna screamed.

"What are you doing in my cave, little one?" Kindor said in a fake sweet voice.


I love that Jenna can just catch a chariot, like a taxi.




Translation: Jenna, sounding braver than she felt, said, "I know what you did to this place and I'm gonna fix it."

"Oh, you are. Well, why don't I just fix you," Kindor said. And he zapped her with his horn. Jenna felt all her happiness flushing out of her. *Obnoxious purple pen in lieu of italics*  Something funny. Something funny, she thought. *Back to equally terrible pencil* Then it hit her. In second grade her grandma picked up one of her classmates and said,


That's right, guys, eleven-year-old Jill stopped in the middle of a sentence and was just like, "Fuck this page, I want a new one".

Unless it's a cliffhanger, and eleven-year-old me was breaking formatting rules to create suspense. If so, well done, younger self. You are probably a much better writer than I am now.


~*~*~*~*~


"Montreal -40°C" by Malajube




I am astounded by how much I like this song. Despite the fact that I don't really listen all that closely to lyrics, I still don't usually get into songs in languages I don't understand. (I tried to look up the meaning and this one appears to be about having a big ol' boner for Montreal.) This silly French song is also just not my usual style and borderline obnoxious.

But I can't help it; this song makes me so happy. I can't help bounce-dancing around in my chair whenever I hear it. I think it could work great in the background of an old-friends-having-lots-of-fun-together sort of scene in a movie or show.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Short Post and a Song #123: Scaredly


Do you know what time it is? Do you???

Of course you do, since right now you are either using a computer, tablet, or phone, and all of those things have clocks.

But do you know that it is also Story Time? For the past few weeks I've been posting pages from Amerex: Land of the Unicorns, a book I wrote when I was eleven years old. If you wanna catch up just go back a few posts, I'll wait.

...

...

...

Have your eyeballs recovered from that blast of sheer awesomeness yet? (Or at least partly? Honestly I'm not sure they'll ever really be the same again. I'm not a scientist.) Okay, now let's get back to it!




Translation: Ralph quickly replied, "Of course, dearest. Right away." After the tea had come the four people sat in the parlor talking.

"Do you know why you're here, Jenna?" Hillary asked.

"I really have no idea, but if you don't mind my asking, why do all of you look so sad?" Jenna asked. Hillary's face darkened.

"That's what we wanted to talk to you about," Ralph said "Years ago an evil unicorn, Kindor cast a spell of sadness over Amerex. A daughter of Eve is the only thing that could break the spell."




Translation: "How would I break it?" Jenna scaredly asked.

Dolly answered, "We don't know. We just know only you can break it. Tomorrow we shall take you to Kindor's cave."

Jenna, getting more frightened by the minute asked, "What weapons shall I have?"

"None." Hillary said, "The spell can't be broken by violence. Will you try?"


I used to think I was pretty intelligent kid for my age at eleven. But that's kind of gone to hell now that I know that I believed "scaredly" was a word. But Jenna's quest has finally been introduced: Solve Amerex's depression problem by meeting an evil sadness unicorn.

Just look at that line of ladies there. They look more pissed off than sad, probably since my lack of ability to draw hands forced them into kinda confrontational poses.

Get ready for Kindor the evil sadness dragon in the next installment! Maybe Jenna will throw some Prozac at him.


~*~*~*~*~


"The Idea of Growing Old" by The Features




This is an irresistibly sweet song, and one that suits writing romantical-type scenes very well.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Short Post and a Song #122: Mutache


Brace yourselves, guys: Today you're getting not one, not two, but three pages of Amerex, mostly because I feel bad the first two pages don't have any pictures.






Translation: Then she saw the purple haired girl. The girl said,

"We've been expecting you Jenna."

"But this is just my dream last night, isn't it?" Jenna asked.

"I don't know about your dream but this isn't it." she said, confused. "Now lets get you cleaned up."

She washed off Jenna's cut and put a bandage on it.




Translation: After that Jenna realized how beautiful the castle was It had tons of chandeliers and their rugs and furniture had beautiful unicorns on them. The girl with the purple hair was named Dolly.

"Come and meet my parents the king and queen!" Dolly exclaimed suddenly, pulling Jenna into the prettiest room of all, the throne room. Jen saw a man with green hair, a mutache, and nice clothes.




Translation: Next to him was a beautiful lady with purple hair and orange streaks.

"These are my parents Queen Hillary and King Ralph," Dolly said proudly.

"Oh, hello!" Hillary said. "Welcome to Amerex: Land of the Unicorns."

"Mom, this is the daughter of Eve I dreamed about," Dolly said.

"Oh!" Hillary said, "Ralph, order some tea and scones so we can talk to Jenna."


So there's not a whole of note in those first two pages (except "mutache" lol), but that third one, hoo boy. I love how Queen Hillary welcomes her to "Amerex: Land of the Unicorns", like they have to say the whole thing every time. It would be like if someone saw the girl from that terrible Dirty Dancing sequel dancing, asked her what she was doing, and she replied, "Why Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, of course". 

I also enjoy King Ralph's hideously weird proportions:


I lost half my arm in the war and my leg is actually a broomstick.


You'd think being a king he'd be able to afford better pants.

Also good job straight-up stealing "daughter of Eve" from C.S. Lewis, child self, A+. 


~*~*~*~*~


"For Once in My Life" by Stevie Wonder




It feels like a Stevie sort of Sunday.

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Short Post and a Song #121: It hurt a lot!


Well Merry Christmas and Happy Birthday, Velocininjas, because I have decided to give you not one but two pages of Amerex today because I am a wise and generous soul.





Translation: I must be dreaming, she thought. Soon she found herself in a castle, standing in front of the most beautiful girl with purple hair...

"Wake up Jen Jen, time for school!" her mom yelled. So Jenna woke up, got ready and went to school. At recess, she was sitting with her best friend Tommy, talking about the dream.

"Maybe you'll have it again tomorrow, and you'll get to see how it turns out," Tommy replied.


I like the ellipsis after "purple hair". It makes her hair seem so ominous.




Translation: "I hope so," Jenna said. That night she had the dream again but it was different somehow. She soon found out why. At first everything was the same but when she cut herself on the glass, it hurt. It hurt a lot! It started to bleed so she rushed to the castle from last night.


In case you didn't get it, it hurt when Jenna cut herself. It hurt a lot!


~*~*~*~*~


"Impossible Germany" by Wilco




The first two and a half minutes of this song are all well and good, but it's what happens after that point that makes the song the masterpiece that it is. I'm linking a live version of the song since I personally get a little bit of a proximity-to-awesomeness high when I watch those amazing guitarists go.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Short Post and a Song #120: Jenna is unimpressed.


We have finally reached the proper story of Amerex: Land of the Unicorns, so let's jump right into it.





Translation of Pencil Cursive: Once Upon a time...

One night Jenna had the weirdest dream. She seemed to be standing on a cloud. She saw tons of unicorns some flying, some walking around. (in obnoxious purple pen) None of them look happy, she thought. (back to hard-to-read-pencil) She saw lots of sharp glass things on the edge of clouds She walked up to one and touched it. She got cut. It didn't hurt or bleed.


My favorite thing is how thoroughly underwhelmed Jenna looks by all of this. "Standing on a cloud? *shrug* Seeing tons of unicorns? I've seen better. I'll just touch some of this pointy glass, I guess."



~*~*~*~*~

"Feeling Good" by Nina Simone




I am actually not feeling good at all, due to having been sick with this bug/flu thing that has left me feeling like a balloon overstuffed with mucus and grossness for a full week. But I hope listening to this song might help to jumpstart the recovery process.

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Short Post and a Song #119: Hope you're surprised!


Sorry for my absence last week, Velocininjas. A graduation party and Father's Day kept me busy all weekend. But now I have returned for the next thrilling installment of Looking At A Book I Made In "Build Your Own Book" Class When I Was Eleven!







You guys are getting two pages this week, since we still haven't gotten to the real story yet. In case anyone needs a translation for my terrible handwriting, the dedication says, "I'd like to dedicate this book to my two sisters at camp. Hope you're surprised! Love, Jill".

I am 97% sure that neither of my sisters ever saw this book. Their loss, right?

Next week the story shall truly begin. Are you excited, guys? You should be.


~*~*~*~*~


"Just Jammin'" by Gramatik




I know I mentioned this track when I featured another song by Gramatik, but I decided it should get its own entry as well. Long songs without words are great for writing (or any kind of work you can do while listening to music, really), and "Just Jammin'" is one of the best songs of that ilk I've come across. You would think things would get repetitive during a six-and-a-half-minute-long song like this, but the melody keeps reinventing itself enough to keep things interesting.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Short Post and a Song #118: My name is very fancy, you see


Hey my Velocininjas, I hope you're having a good weekend so far. I am going to be fairly busy for the next several weeks, so for the next few Short Post and a Songs I'm going to be posting the entirety of Amerex: Land of the Unicorns, the book I made in Build Your Own Book class when I was eleven.




That's the cover. I like my choice to make my name cursive while everything else was print. Good job keeping it weird, Lil Jill. I also enjoy how my magical world sounds like the lovechild of America and a Xerox machine. Tune in next week for Amerexian adventures!


~*~*~*~*~


"This Time Tomorrow" by The Kinks




This song is applicable to pretty much any dystopian story, particularly one starring a bunch of a teenagers, so I've been listening to it while working on The Renaissance Experiment quite a lot. It's also just a fantastic song by a fantastic band.

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Short Post and a Song #117: Spiders for days


ME: *walks into forest*

SALESMAN: Welcome! Are you in the market for some sticks? We've got sticks, we've got rocks, we've got dirt, we've got leaves! And spiders? We've got spiders for days!


~*~*~*~*~


"The Ground Walks, with Time in a Box" by Modest Mouse




"Float On" has long been my favorite Modest Mouse song, but this guy's come dangerously close to sliding into first place for me lately. It's got a killer intro and suits the section of the second Renaissance Experiment book I've been working on quite well.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Short Post and a Song #116: The flourless chocolate cake is also chocolateless.


[at a trendy restaurant]

WAITER: And our dessert special is grilled yogurt and inverted peaches.

ME: The fuck is grilled yogurt?

ONE FRIEND TO ANOTHER: Wanna split the triple-spiced lentil waffles?

OTHER FRIEND: Only if we get the pasture raised eel syrup.



~*~*~*~*~


I Want You (She's So Heavy) by Juliette Valduriez




I've been listening to this nearly eight-minute-long Beatles song a lot while writing these days. Unfortunately YouTube does not appear to have a decent version of the original song, so please enjoy this video of Juliette Valduriez shredding like a motherfucking boss.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Short Post and a Song #115: My Greatest Disappointment


THERAPIST: What was your greatest disappointment?

ME: The Spice Girls never told me what they wanted. *sobs* They said they would but they never did.


~*~*~*~*~


"Starman" by David Bowie




This song has been stuck in my head for over a week, so Green Eggs and Dan has been serenaded with the 20% of the lyrics I know repeatedly. Most of the serenading consists purely of me just sing-yelling "StarDAAAAAAAAAAAAN" at him.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Short Post and a Song #114: This is what happens when I see graffiti I can't easily make sense of.




[Subway Platform]

RICK: Let's draw a dick on this pillar, Jimmy!

JIMMY: Naw, we'll get caught!

RICK: No one'll see. *pulls out marker and writes "No one will see it" on the pillar because he's clever and/or kind of an asshole*

POLICEMAN: Hey, you, stop writing on that pillar!

JIMMY: I told you, Rick!! *runs away*

RICK: *freezes, shocked by his own hubris. As he finally begins to run away, he draws a series of exclamation marks to emphasize the way this moment has forever changed the person he is, and the person he shall henceforth become*



~*~*~*~*~


"Psycho Killer" by Talking Heads




So Jonathan Demme died about a week and a half ago, which is a real bummer since it always is when an awesome director dies, and he definitely was one. On his resume were Oscar-winning films like Silence of the Lambs and Philadelphia. Most significant to me personally is the fact that he directed Stop Making Sense, a 1984 concert film of the Talking Heads performing live.

"Psycho Killer" is the first performance of the concert, and it becomes clear pretty quickly that it's not going to be just the typical experience of watching a band perform. David Byrne comes out by himself and moves through the entire first song on his own, showing what a powerhouse of weird and awesome charisma he is. The angles of the camera show that Jonathan Demme never had any intention of just planting a camera in place and pointing it at the band. As a director he showed great instincts for when to move in close to the performers' faces, and when to go out long and display the band as one giant unit.

I highly recommend watching the entire concert. The first time I watched myself I was worried I wouldn't be entertained by simply watching a band play without the high energy atmosphere of actually attending the concert in person. But Byrne's Gumby dancing and irresistible energy pair with Demme's beautifully thoughtful direction to produce one of my favorite things I've ever watched. I posted another song from Stop Making Sense a few months back that displays how the show gets even better once the other members of the band are incorporated into the performance.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Short Post and a Song #113: I think I should be able to make it to Narnia in an armoire. Close enough, right?


[Furniture Store]

SALESPERSON: *knocks on the door of a bureau*

ME: *emerges from inside the bureau* Yes?

SALESPERSON: Can I ask what you were doing?

ME: Trying to get to Narnia.

SALESPERSON: *chuckles* I'll let it go this once. 

[literally two minutes later]

SALESPERSON: *finds me crammed inside a chifferobe* I should maybe point out that we don't actually sell wardrobes. And also ask that you leave the store immediately.


~*~*~*~*~


"Muy Tranquilo" by Gramatik




This song served as my constant, repeating soundtrack for a scene I was writing in the second Renaissance Experiment novel recently. It sounds like some very chill, very talented dudes just jamming for four minutes, and I mean that in the best possible way. Gramatik even has another song called "Just Jammin'" and it is also great.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Short Post and a Song #112: Where did you find all those friends who also like to sing in the car, Wayne? TELL ME YOUR GODDAMN SECRETS.


When I'm not alone in a car and "Bohemian Rhapsody" comes on the radio I always want it to be like that scene in Wayne's World, but instead it's just me quietly squeaking, "Mama..." before lapsing into shameful silence.




~*~*~*~*~


"Bohemian Rhapsody" by Queen




That car sing-a-long will be mine. Oh yes, it will be mine.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Short Post and a Song #111: Is glue involved? Or eye of newt?


Dear women who can wear their sunglasses on top of their heads without the sunglasses falling off every time they try to look down,

FUCK. YOU.

P.S. I don't mean that. Please be my friends and teach me your ways, you beautiful witch dragons.



~*~*~*~*~


"Bad Kids" by Black Lips





Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Dan and I do not agree about this song. La La Dan thinks the lead singer can't sing and therefore the song sounds more like jarring noise than music. I, on the other hand, don't think this song would be anywhere near as good if it were sung by someone with a smooth, melodic sort of voice. The quality of the singing is punky, yelly, and rebellious, which fits the spirit of the song perfectly.