Posted on April 12th, 2011 by annakjarzab
If you’re one of the handful of people who read my Make It or Break It recaps, you may notice I didn’t post one last night–but don’t despair! I was celebrating the twenty-eighth anniversary of the birth of my friend Cambria by consuming much wine and cheese, so I didn’t get a chance to watch, but I’m planning on spending some quality time with the Rock girls and boys tonight and will post a recap ASAP.
This is apropos of nothing, but I woke up this morning around 3:30 and couldn’t go back to sleep. I had this song playing over and over again in my head; it sounded very familiar, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember the words and/or title, and it was driving me INSANE. I kept trying to work it out until I realized that by doing so I was preventing myself from falling back asleep, if such a thing was even possible, and eventually I let it go and dozed off, only to wake up two hours later having finally worked out the title.
My friends, behold the wonder that is “Don’t Look Any Further” by Dennis Edwards. (Please, for your own viewing pleasure, watch the video. It’s cheesy and awesome.)
Why did I wake up with this strange, sort of creepy eighties song in my head at 3:30 AM on a Tuesday morning? Good question! I have no idea. I’m pretty sure I haven’t heard it playing anywhere recently. What makes it a little nightmarish is that I recognize the song from (NERD ALERT) a season 7 episode of The X-Files called “Orison,” in which the song serves as a “high school memory trigger/divine warning” (according to Wikipedia) for Scully. Considering that “Orison” is marks the return of fetishist/serial killer Donnie Pfaster, it’s no wonder I couldn’t fall back asleep after that.
Edited to add: Cambria shed some light on why I had “Don’t Look Any Further” in my head! Apparently, they were playing it at a bar we went to on Saturday night, but I guess I was too busy hating that bar and wanting to get the heck out of there to notice. Mystery solved!
Posted on November 17th, 2010 by annakjarzab
You guys, I think you might be able to download Beatles music on iTunes now. I just have a feeling…
Yeesh, iTunes, give it a rest. We get it, you’re very excited.
In other news, the book I’m writing might actually be killing me. Every day I decide to shut it down at some point, and then either later that day or the next day I decide I’m going to give it a shot even though it’s currently in a particular state of awful I can’t even adequately describe to you, and then twelve hours later I’m like, “WHY DID I EVER THINK THIS COULD WORK? I AM THE WORST EVER.” Ask Alex. She gets to experience it live and in person on G-chat every damn day! Lucky girl.
(Note: This is not OoH, or “Hallelujah” as I’ve decided to call it for short because…well, obviously “Ooh!” is a weird shorthand for a book title. I’m waiting for a Hallelujah editorial letter from my agents, which I’ll hopefully have before Thanksgiving. This is a completely different disasterscript.)
I seriously think this book is rotting my brain. It feels utterly unoriginal, yet too weird and different, at the same time. 90 percent of the time, when I even think about working on it I get this feeling in my shoulders like I’m being squeezed to death by a professional wrestler. The characters are all underdeveloped, the plot is ridiculous and full of holes so big you could drive a semi through them, and I still don’t have any faith in my ability to pull of the mechanics of the story. The mechanics. THE STUFF THAT MAKES THE STORY GO VROOM! And even though the quality of the actual writing should be, at this point, the least of my problems, I’m stressing out about that, too.
Basically, I’m a whole ball of anxiety about everything having to do with writing and publishing and being myself in the world these days. I’m afraid I’ve run out of ideas. I’m afraid I can’t put together a decent sentence anymore, let alone an entire novel that doesn’t totally suck. I’m afraid I don’t have the right body armor to be on the writing side of this business. I’m afraid of the mere idea of doing anything else. It’s really quite the idiotic predicament, because honestly, sack up, Jarzab! These are first world problems! And yet they bear down on me all the same. Awesome.
So I have come to this conclusion: I need a vacation. New York is getting to me, and so is this book. I’m looking forward to working on Hallelujah again because, as spooked as I am after the Great Book 2 Debacle of this summer, and as low as my confidence level is, I think I can handle Hallelujah. It’s not a wild, sprawling octopus of a book that I need to wrestle into submission; it’s more of an overgrown garden in need of weeding and pruning and maybe a little bit of Miracle Grow. And thus it has become my anchor, something I’m looking forward to working on, which I need because damn. And I get to go home for Christmas for twelve straight days, which is another anchor. I can’t wait to be out of this crowded, stinking city. Maybe this time I’ll remember to bring a coat.
(Funny story: Two years ago I spent Christmas in California–as I’m doing this year–and because I live in New York, where the winters are very cold, and I’m a moron, I was all, “It’s California! I don’t need a coat!” Guess what? You need a coat in December practically everywhere. Okay, that’s not true, but you need one in Northern California. Not, like, a sleeping bag snow parka, but something to take the edge off the wind. Anyway, I didn’t bring a coat to California for Christmas two years ago and I had to wear my high school letterman’s jacket, the only coat I had at my parents house, around town for two weeks. I looked pretty cool. Just kidding, I looked hella dumb. Lesson learned!)
So…yeah. That’s me! The upside is that my friend Mary, she of the fabulous AUT blurbs you can find somewhere on this blog (sorry, too lazy right now to link), is coming to visit on Thursday, and on Friday I get to see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows after some chicken and a giant margarita at Dallas BBQ. And then next week is Thanksgiving! I’m making the pies.
And, one last piece of news if you made it this far–I got my first royalty statement! From the looks of it, AUT sales are much healthier than I expected (erm…I think, as I do not actually understand the statement at all). A little birdie has been feeding me BookScan numbers since pub and it looks like the real sales were about twice as much as BookScan shows, which is kind of insane. BookScan only covers about 70% point of sale, but the channels it doesn’t cover (box stores, Walmart, etc.) are ones AUT wasn’t even distributed in. But I’m not knocking it; it was a nice piece of news to dull the pain of my realizing today was only Tuesday. Somehow, it felt like Thursday.
Posted on September 3rd, 2010 by annakjarzab
So on Wednesday, it became September. And can I get an AMEN on that?! This summer could not come to a close any faster, in my personal opinion. Here are the things I like about summer:
1. Summer fridays
Yup, that’s it. I tried to think of more things, but I couldn’t, because I don’t like summer at all. It’s my least favorite season. It’s been this way for a long time. I attribute this to my general Bad Attitude towards the sun. People always give me a hard time about this, because, like, who hates the sun? Its warmth makes life on this planet possible! It helps the body create Vitamin D, which is important for some reasons I don’t even know about because I’m not a doctor! Its harmful cell-damaging UV rays allow the cast of Jersey Shore to GTL all over Seaside! THESE ARE WONDERFUL THINGS. Yeah, I know. And I do like to be alive, and I’m sure Vitamin D is very important for my immune system and fighting cancer, and I would also cry tears of neverending sorrow if Paulie D and The Situation didn’t get look like traffic cones with hair. (No I wouldn’t, I don’t even watch that show; ALSO, I’m not lying about that.) But the sun makes me burn and makes it necessary to wear sunscreen, which I hate, and makes me hot and sweaty and I hate that. I like a nice fall day. Heaven for me is a nice fall day. If Heaven is a physical place, it will always be fall there. So, as you can probably imagine, I’m excited for fall.
So excited, in fact, that I’m getting out of here tomorrow and going to Long Island to visit my friend Kim. I like to think of Kim’s apartment as my summer home, where I escape like a Richie Rich “to the Hamptons” even though she doesn’t live in the Hamptons. But my summer home is more fun because Kim’s there and also she has a car and can drive us around so it’s almost like having a chauffeur. She’s reading this right now and writing me an email saying YOU’RE UNINVITED! Just kidding, she’s not. But she’s probably rolling her eyes.
Anyway, here’s the main problem with going to Long Island this weekend: Hurricane Earl. Or, it was the problem a few days ago–now, Kim assures me, it probably won’t hit LI at all (you’re welcome, New Englanders), and even if there’s some residual rain it’ll happen tonight and I’m not going until tomorrow. Which is great, because I just want to chillax this weekend. I finished my Book 2 manuscript on Monday night, and then started rereading it on Tuesday which is such bad mojo. I emailed Alex crazy things like, “IT’S SO TERRIBLE!” over and over again, until we had a come to Jesus moment where she was like, “WILL YOU PLEASE STOP WORKING ON THIS NOW? GIVE YOURSELF A BREAK.” So I’m taking a break. Since I’m signing off for the weekend, I want to leave you with this song that my friend Mardie just sent me; this song is so awesome I can’t even tell you.
Posted on July 27th, 2010 by annakjarzab
I just happened to see this on Tumblr today and because it makes me so happy, I am posting it here:
Funny thing about Hall & Oates. This weekend, we were driving all over God’s green goodness (Long Island) looking for a Panera Bread because now that I know there’s Panera on Long Island I am insisting upon eating there every time, Kim (who is a compulsive radio tuner) landed on a station that was playing Hall & Oates’ “She’s Gone.” Cambria was like, “What is this?” like it’s not the best thing in the whole damn world, and I was like, “Duh, it’s Hall & Oates!” She and Kim both sort of stared at me and said, “You say that like we’re supposed to know this song. This is not a famous Hall & Oates song!” Um, it is a famous Hall & Oates song. Right? At this point, I’ve listened to Hall & Oates so much (my dad is a superfan) that I cannot tell what is and is not a popular Hall & Oates song.
So, as one is wont to do, I just added a Hall & Oates reference into my WIP. BECAUSE I CAN. And because everybody should listen to/dance to Hall & Oates weekly. As you can see from the above video, it makes the world a better place. Cartoon birds land on your shoulder when you listen to Hall & Oates. QED.
Posted on June 23rd, 2010 by annakjarzab
This is Bear McCreary’s version of Bob Dylan’s “All Along the Watchtower” (made famous by Jimi Hendrix, who covered it) that he wrote and performed for the third season finale of Battlestar Galactica. It’s very exciting, just the sort of music I love to write to, with a lot of drums and guitar and a real, heart pounding drive. The book I’ve been writing (the first in a planned trilogy, although we make plans and God laughs, right? What am I doing working on the first book in a trilogy when I haven’t even finished out my two book contract with RH yet?) is what I used to call a “quasi-post-apocalyptic pseudo-mystery” but which I’m now just calling a “supernatural thriller” because it’s not post-apocalyptic, quasi or otherwise, and it is more of a thriller than a mystery, in the way that The Da Vinci Code is more of a thriller than a mystery. I’m being necessarily vague here, but that’s what I’ve been working on. So I’ve been listening to a lot of hard rock and a LOT of instrumental movie-trailer-y type music, like the E.S. Posthumus song below:
And “Requiem for a Tower”, which is the Clint Mansel theme to Requiem for a Dream that was given a little oomph and used in the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers trailer:
And James Dooley’s “Trinity”:
Anyway, it’s been fun. I’d forgotten what it was like to work on a manuscript with no external pressure. I’d written the first eighty pages or something a long time ago, and when I went back to them I was shocked at how much I didn’t hate them (ALTHOUGH, that happened with Book 2 as well, and I ended up rewriting half of that book!). I actually thought they were really well turned out for a first draft, so after I sent my draft of Book 2 to Joanna I started adding on to them, and what do you know? Immediately I started turning out loosey-goosey pages. I knew I was just writing them to add to my word/page count, so that I could get to the good stuff, so that I could finish the draft, and then I was like, “Why?” For my own enjoyment, partially, but I had just written a terrible draft of a very important scene that serves as the catalyst for the rest of the book! What was I doing?
The great part about it was that I could just get rid of it. I’m under no deadline and have no pressure, so I just excised that part and rewrote it last night in a different way. One of the things that makes this draft of that scene better than my first draft of that scene was that I knew my characters were going to come face-to-face with some pretty unbelievable stuff, and I wanted my main main character (as opposed to my handful of other main characters) to believe it almost immediately. What I hadn’t figured out was why she would believe it. She’s a pretty sharp, cynical person, so it doesn’t seem to fit her personality, until you take into account her back story and what it is she’s been through in the last year or so of her life, and then her ability to buy what she’s being sold makes a lot of sense. Again, super vague, but when I made that realization, the whole scene blossomed out. It’s sort of lovely when that happens. I’d started to think I’d never know what it felt like to write a book organically again.
This is the sort of blog post I write where I get to the end and realize it has no real point. Usually I delete those. I probably delete three blog posts for every one post that goes up here, which is why I don’t post very often. But I’m going to post this one, without a point. Because why not?
Oh, and this third book? I’ve referred to it before as GR. I’m going to start referring to it as TGD now. Good day to you.
Posted on June 8th, 2010 by annakjarzab
Guess what today is, guys? It’s the day that Hanson’s new album, Shout it Out, drops! I’m so excited! I want to stream the album on my computer, but even though I downloaded the Flash update I supposedly needed, it still isn’t working. I’m hoping that’s because TOO MANY HANSON FANS are overloading MySpace’s music player. If you can get it to work, Hanson’s MySpace profile is right here.
Meanwhile, you can stream “Thinking ‘Bout Something” (remember that awesome video they made for it that I posted recently?) on their website, and you can also download the non-acoustic version of “Waiting For This” for free. It’s not SUPER different from the acoustic version of the song that was on the Stand Up Stand Up EP, to be honest it sounds the same to me, but whatever, I’m not exactly the expert when it comes to the subtleties of music. Anyway, enjoy!
Posted on May 6th, 2010 by annakjarzab
Admittedly, I’ve only watched about ten minutes of Tuesday night’s episode of Glee because I thought it was on on Wednesdays and also yesterday was Cinco de Drinko (I have a life, you guys, and friends, I bet you forgot JUST KIDDING I know you know I’m very busy and popular), but I did catch some clips on Jezebel and while the episode itself seems like yet another stinker (remember how YAWN last week’s episode was? I do, because I just watched it two days ago and also I wrote this blog post), I found Rachel and Jesse’s performance of “Total Eclipse of the Heart” actually very sad and poignant.
Okay, so Rachel is very often the worst (in the best way, naturally, but I wouldn’t want to know her), and after trying to browbeat Finn into dating her/sing him to death she finally found someone whose booked the same flight and hotel for their MASSIVE ego trip that she did and it’s a match made in Narcissism Cove or whatever (did that make any sense?). My point is: Jesse + Rachel 4 LYFE. But also, in the end it’s always been Rachel + Rachel 4 LYFE because deep down Rachel never thought that anyone would “get” her (i.e. “tolerate” her), so WTF does Rachel do when someone tries to puncture her oversized opinion of herself that is usually kept intact only by virtue of the walls of delusion she keeps high around herself to stave off the near constant assaults to her actually very fragile self-esteem? She acts like a total idiot and makes a woefully misguided attempt to seem “sexy” by singing “Run Joey Run” with three different guys in some weird video that nobody but the glee club kids are ever going to see and they’re already pretty set in their impressions of her (negative). OF COURSE SHE DOES. She’s Rachel. She actually doesn’t understand the meaning of sexy. She and Jesse should’ve done some hot song/dance routine in the cafeteria at lunch wearing skimpy clothing if she wanted to spice up her image. At least that makes sense. Or she should just come to terms with the fact that Jesse thinks she’s sexy (we think? I’m still confused by their relationship and whether or not Jesse is actually in it for Rachel or for Vocal Adrenaline or at first for Vocal Adrenaline but now for Rachel or what) and that’s enough because WHO CARES.
Ugh, Rachel. But still, I’m a big fan of this “Total Eclipse of the Heart” video and I’ll miss Jonathan Groff when he’s gone.
Posted on May 5th, 2010 by annakjarzab
If this video doesn’t make you love Hanson, then you are ridiculous. That is all.
Oh, and I’ve been killing myself trying to figure out who that guy playing the tambourine is–it’s Weird Al Yankovic.
Posted on April 14th, 2010 by annakjarzab
Whoa! What a terrible pun you guys! I’m losing my touch (I never had a touch, who am I kidding). But you get where I’m going with this–Glee came back last night. And lo, it was good. This blog post will contain spoilers, so if you can’t take the heat, get out of my kitchen (for now! But you can totally come back soon! I love you!).
First, I’m going to start with the things I would do if I was in charge of Glee:
1.) Make the show more like a musical, less like a show about a glee club. Because let’s face it, the ridiculous maneuvering they use each week to force upon us a certain theme (this episode’s theme, “Hello”, was particularly nonsensical–but fun!) or integrate music into the plot is silly and unnecessary. I’d rather most of the songs in the show play like Diana Agron’s “You Keep Me Hangin’ On”, where it’s the character singing their feelings and internal monologue, instead of presenting us with five new set songs each week–like they’re really going to perform all of that stuff at regionals.
2.) Draw out story lines longer. Like the Rachel/Puck hookup from last season. It was hilarious, and it happen for five seconds. This is something Gossip Girl does ALL THE TIME, and now it’s the third season and the show is patently stupid 95% of the time. Don’t waste what you have, show! Rachel and Puck are going to start dating? Great! Give us three episodes of that. The quicker things change, the faster you run out of options.
3.) Can we make Mr. Schuester less of a creeper? I don’t think it’s intentional, which is the most discomforting part. I think the show thinks he’s charming, but actually he’s sort of smug and…predatory? It might just be a Matthew Morrison problem (I mean, what can you do with a guy who humbly refers to his upcoming solo album as “a cross between Justin Timberlake and Michael Buble”?), but can we try to fix it somehow?
4.) More Puck! He had exactly one line in this episode. What’s up with that? There might be better singers on the show (and, okay, I don’t watch for the story, mostly just the music), but he’s easily the funniest actor. He needs more time on screen! And, hi, we all swooned for his “Sweet Caroline,” so it’s not like the boy can’t perform.
All of my problems with this week’s episode come from those suggestions above. No Puck (no Quinn for that matter, or Artie or Tina), creepy Mr. Schu, ridiculous finagling of songs into glee club situations instead of just singing them because they express how the characters feel (explain to me how it’s possible that the glee club is always on the edge of disbanding due to funding/space allocation, but they always have a full band/orchestra around to provide backup for everyday rehearsal–would TOTALLY BE BELIEVABLE if the singing was entirely in the character’s head), and my sneaking suspicion that we’ll be seeing the back of Jesse St. James just as we grow to adore him. Of course, I already adore him, because I’m pretty sure he’s going to try to screw with New Directions by screwing with Rachel’s head, only to really fall for her and have a CRISIS OF CONSCIENCE! at which time we’ll be really rooting for them to work it out. Plus, I think Jonathan Groff and Lea Michele still have that Spring Awakening chemistry, and I’m looking forward to their romantic scenes.
Posted on March 31st, 2010 by annakjarzab
Music reminds me of my dad. He’s a musician (guitar) and when he was in college he was a radio DJ, so there was always music on when we were in the car. Sometimes it was classical, but most of the time it was Hall & Oates or oldies. When I was growing up, we had a kick ass oldies station in Chicago, Oldies 104.3. I don’t even think that’s an oldies station anymore, which makes it pretty worthless to me. John Records Landecker was my favorite disc jockey, and I basically didn’t listen to any other music until high school.
(Okay, that isn’t true. I always say that I didn’t know “they” were making new music until I was in the 8th grade, but I know I had NKOTB albums–kill me–and other things. I remember Alanis Morrisette’s Jagged Little Pill as my first album, but now I’m not so sure that’s true. Whatever. Authors are liars. What of it?)
So I listened to mostly oldies growing up. They remind me of my dad, as does Hall & Oates (we can argue if that’s oldies if you want) and the soundtrack to The Big Easy. Recently I downloaded a bunch of music to beef up my oldies playlist, and I thought I’d share it with you.
Playlist: Songs that remind me of Dad
1. Mr. Tamborine Man – The Byrds
2. My Generation – The Who
3. Whole Lotta Love – Led Zeppelin
4. Magic Carpet Ride – Steppenwolf
5. Brown Eyed Girl – Van Morrison
6. People Got to Be Free – The Rascals
7. Wooly Bully – Sam the Sham & the Pharoahs
8. Money for Nothing – Dire Straits
9. Carry on Wayward Son – Kansas
10. For What It’s Worth – Buffalo Springfield
11. I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends – The Beatles
12. Time of the Season – The Zombies
13. Oh, Pretty Woman – Roy Orbison
14. Get Together – The Youngbloods
15. California Dreamin – The Mamas and the Papas
16. For Your Love – The Yardbirds
17. Kicks – Paul Revere & the Raiders
18. Let’s Live for Today – The Grass Roots
19. Spirit In the Sky – Norman Greenbaum
20. Time Won’t Let Me – The Outsiders
21. Gimme Some Lovin’ – Spencer Davis Group
22. On the Road Again – Canned Heat
23. Bus Stop – The Hollies
24. Last Train to Clarksville – The Monkees
25. Hush – Deep Purple
26. Mony Mony – Tommy James & the Shondells
27. Presence of the Lord – Blind Faith
28. Black Betty – Ram Jam
29. O-O-H Child – The Five Stairsteps
30. Baby I Need Your Loving – Four Tops
31. Hot Fun in the Summertime – Sly & the Family Stone
32. Then he Kissed Me – The Crystals
33. He’s a Rebel – The Crystals
34. You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me – Dusty Springfield
35. Down in the Boondocks – Billy Joe Royal
36. Down on the Corner – Credence Clearwater Revival
37. More Today Than Yesterday – Spiral Staircase
38. Someday We’ll Be Together – Diana Ross & the Supremes
39. Everyday People – Sly & the Family Stone
40. Proud Mary – Credence Clearwater Revival
41. Bad Moon Rising – Credence Clearwater Revival
42. Take a Letter Maria – R. B. Greaves
43. Cecilia – Simon & Garfunkle
44. You Don’t Know How It Feels – Tom Petty
45. Baby Love – Diana Ross & the Supremes
46. Where Did Our Love Go – Diana Ross & the Supremes
47. Love Child – Diana Ross & the Supremes
48. Dawn – Frankie Vallie and the Four Seasons (FAVORITE!!!)
49. The Lion Sleeps Tonight – The Tokens
50. You Can Call Me Al – Paul Simon