I Can't Explain It Any Other Way

Sometimes it’s hard to quiet my inner critic long enough to write anything. It doesn’t bother me as much in my fiction writing as that stuff usually goes through multiple rounds of editing before anyone ever sees it. No, it’s mainly a problem when it comes to these short[1] blog posts. Which seems weird. That’s not the way it should be.

“I liked this movie/book/album, I should just write for thirty minutes on it and then throw it online.” —a regularly occurring thought in my head that rarely amounts to anything.

So, yeah, I haven’t posted anything on here in a bit. It’s not for lack of trying though. I’ve written (or started to write) several things that, for some reason or another, I wasn’t confident enough to share. I’ve been productive in other ways though. I turned in a new project to my agent two weeks ago, I’ve been recording a full-length album with Sleeping Tapes, and I’m currently editing/revising another project.[2]

I actually need to get back to that project while my youngest son is napping now that I think of it. Before I do though, I want to do a quick post here, because doing so will help me feel better.

So here’s this, which isn’t actually anything…

Dang.

I mean here’s a quick[3] recap of stuff I’ve been into lately.


Albums I’ve Been Into

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Phoebe Bridgers—Stranger in the Alps

The Friday[4] this album came out, I saw a few friends and bands tweeting about how great it was so I checked out her music video for “Motion Sickness” and I was hooked. Bridgers’ songs are such a perfect mix of humor, honesty, and (yep) sadness that I instantly connected with it.

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The National— Sleep Well Beast

A friend asked how I liked the National’s new album and I answered that I love it, but I still rank it fifth of their last five releases. Which really is a testament to how great of a run the National have been on since 2005.

My Official National Album Ranking

1. High Violet

2. Trouble Will Find Me

3. Boxer

4. Alligator

5. Sleep Well Beast

Sleep Well Beast is really good and I expect (like most National albums) it will only get better the more time I spend with it.

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Brand New— Science Fiction

Speaking of albums that only get better with time, Science Fiction continues to blow my mind.[5] I read an article once about people on Wall Street that micro-dose psychedelic drugs because they felt that it activated parts of their brains in ways that made them better at their jobs. Of course, I don’t know anything about actually doing that, but I feel like that somehow relates to my listening experiences of Science Fiction. 

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The Mountain Goats— Everything

In September, I saw the Mountain Goats live for the first time. It was such a joyful, cathartic, unifying experience that I have thought about it every day since. I went into that night being a slightly-more-than-casual fan, but I left it feeling like a true convert. Because of this, I’ve continued to dive deeper into the Mountain Goats back catalog.[6] 

Also, the new podcast, I Only Listen to the Mountain Goats, is really great and worth checking out.

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The World is a Beautiful Place and I’m No Longer Afraid to Die— Always Foreign

I liked their previous album, Harmlessness, quite a bit. I like this one too. There are a lot of themes on this album that deal with the awfulness of the current administration and cultural landscape. With each new day raising the bar for my level of disgust, I find comfort within these 11 tracks.


Books I’ve Been Into

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The Grip of It by Jac Jemc

I picked this last month for my book club and I’m still reading it. It’s really good while also very creepy. Which explains why I haven’t finished it yet as I do most my reading before bed and, yeah, I don’t like being creeped out before bed.

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Welcome Home: An Anthology on Love and Adoption

 This collection of short stories by young adult authors is awesome. I particularly loved Adi Alsaid’s “Carlos and the Fifteen-Year-Old-Heart.”[7]

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What is the Bible? by Rob Bell

A friend mailed me this book after we had a lengthy religious discussion one night. Our convo mainly dealt with why I stopped going to church and why I don’t plan to go back.[8] Still, I was thankful for the well-intentioned gift and have enjoyed reading it.

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Runaways: The Complete Collection Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan and Adrian Alphona

This is a reread as I’ve been loving Rainbow Rowell’s recently rebooted Runaways and I want to refresh myself on some of the team’s backstory.

Up Next in the TBR Pile: 

The Fire Next Time by James Baldwin (October Book Club Pick)

Basketball (and Other Things): A Collection of Questions, Asked, Answered, Illustrated by Shea Serrano

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green

Manhattan Beach by Jennifer Egan


TV Shows I've Been Into                                                                            

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American Vandal (Netflix)

I love how straight the entire cast plays the material in this mockumentary about a crime perpetrated at a Californian high school. American Vandal is a fun watch.

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Ozark (Netflix)

*whispers* oooooooozark. This show is also fun, yet, somehow, it’s also dumber than trying to find out who spray-painted 27 cars in the faculty parking lot. That may not make sense. What I’m trying to say is this show is dumber than American Vandal, but not in a good way. At times, Ozark can be super dark and suspenseful. Then other times, the writing is so absurd that it makes me kinda angry. Maybe what I’m really upset about is that the show isn’t what I think it should be. Maybe I’m the problem. Maybe I always have been. Regardless, I still like watching, and, since I only have one episode left, I plan to finish it.

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The Good Place (NBC)

Ah, man, unlike Ozark, the writing on The Good Place is next-level good. This has became my wife and I's go-to-watch each week. 

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Nathan For You (Comedy Central)

Nathan For You is easily my favorite thing on tv right now. No description necessary, just watch it.


Tonight, I’m going to see Blade Runner 2049, and though I haven’t seen the original Blade Runner, or the apparent two thousand sequels, I still think I’ll enjoy it.[9]

In two weeks, I’m going on a road trip to the East Coast with some friends and I’m super excited about it so I’ll leave you with this video my friend Major shot on our last trip to NYC.

That's it for now. My son's awake and I have some editing to do. Thanks for reading.

 

[1] They’re never really short, length-wise. I guess I’m referring to the amount of time I intend to put into them, which also ends up being longer than I plan.

[2] Editor’s Note: Are you saying this for yourself or for the reader? It definitely feels like the former. You don’t have anything to prove, man.

[3] Again, not as quick as I intend.

[4] September 22nd, 2017.

[5] “Whoa, no way! Dane still likes Brand New? That’s crazy!”—you, probably.

[6] This is not an easy feat; the Mountain Goats literally have a million songs.

[7] Yes, this is the first story in the collection, but I’ve read more than that, and I’ve liked them all. Okay, I’ve only read six of the stories so far. I will read more soon though.

[8] This is one of those things I’ve tried to write a blog post about, but I can’t seem to get the tone right. 

[9] Ooof, where’s that inner critic when you need one? I apologize for the dad joke here, but I’m not sorry enough to delete it. Update: I actually went back and deleted this, only to find out that it didn't save so now I'm just going with it.