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jolly jingles 2019

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the mortifying ordeal of 'get bent'

I take great pride in being unembarrassable. Incapable of shame. I think of myself as existing Above and Beyond the mortal realm of humiliation. Some of that’s an act, obviously, because I am still human despite my best efforts. But by committing to the act for so long, it’s become truer and truer as time goes on. I don’t get embarrassed at things that I know other people would and I’m often joyfully and enthusiastically willing to do dumb shit out loud and in public that would likely horrify other people. I just want to be myself. If other people don’t like it, well. That’s not really a me problem, is it?

So, recently, I made a tank top. I had envisioned this shirt — I wanted a floral print tank top, fairly femme, and I wanted big white iron-on letters spelling out GET BENT across the chest. I say and write, “Get bent” a lot. I like that it’s both pretty aggressive and weirdly inoffensive. I like that the delivery can really sell your meaning. I like that it’s kind of old school.

I wanted this shirt in time to go to a concert in Denver and Crystal helped me get it made in a hotel room in Wyoming since we don’t actually own an iron with which to iron-on letters. I got frustrated and wanted to quit, but she made me persist! Because she is a very good wife and carries me through when I try to wimp out on stuff.

So I made this shirt! And it turned out fucking great! And I wore it to the show in Denver for Frank Iero and the Future Violents! And I took a picture with the whole band in it! And I have worn it a couple times since, including to see Ghost in Minneapolis and Ludo in St. Louis and I’ve gotten a bunch of compliments on it! Especially from drunken middle-aged women! Including a couple who have gently grabbbed me in the friendly way that only women can and went, “GET BENT! HA! That is GREAT!” And I get the bonus of getting to watch men look at my chest, read it, then look up at my face as they interpret it as a message for them and that is… Transcendent.

So I have warm feelings for this shirt and I’m happy about its existence. But then, while perusing Tumblr as I am now occasionally wont to do because the whole internet is a wasteland and who needs principles anyway, I came across a picture of the Frank Iero from Frank Iero and the Future Violents playing with his Future Violents about a week before I saw them in Denver. In the photo, he is holding his guitar flipped up against him so the back is showing. (He often puts words on the back of his guitars — numbers, his kids’ initials, whatever — so not unusual to see writing there.) But on this guitar… It says… Get… Bent…

Frank Iero And. You know. Coincidences, right?! Frank Iero and I have… similar tastes? We are… close in age? It is… Not weird! That we would both! Be partial! To the phrase! Get bent!

But also, Frank Iero was/is (DON’T GET ME STARTED! The last week has been WILD.) a member of My Chemical Romance and has fans who are… Very Devoted! And they sometimes dress up like him and/or his My Chemical Romance bandmates! And then go to his shows! With his new band! And would probably very much make a shirt that said something he had put on one of his guitars!

And… while I love and respect these fans Very Much because they are, let’s face it, the ones who make the gears turn, the machines work, the reunions happen, I am… Just… Not one of them. Which is fine! I am obsessive and devoted in my own way!

But the idea… that Frank Iero might have looked at this shirt I was wearing while I was PAYING TO MEET HIM (An already, admittedly, kind of mortifying thing to do!) and which I had very clearly made myself… And thought I did it… Because he has that same phrase… on one of his guitars… … …

The Retroactive Embarrassment…. My soul left my body… I transmuted briefly into a toad as if cursed by a wizard I had wronged… I curled so deeply into myself that I returned to my fetal form… When what was left of my soul finally returned to my wombless wormy body, I burst outward into Humiliation Fireworks and then slowly returned to the earth as embers and ash… My body reassembling piece by piece… Even now, thinking about it, the molten lava of residual shame is the only glue holding me together.

I’m still gonna keep wearing it though.

totally top three: september 2019

For the first time in almost two years, I completely spaced that these posts are a thing I do! Just absolutely blacked it out like it was redacted by the CIA, so I did part of this on my phone while Crystal drove us toward Minneapolis and the rest very, very early today! Apologies for… any remaining mess.


As I’ve probably mentioned a hundred-thousand times before, I have a LOT of trouble absorbing information aurally, so I’ve – frustratingly, tbh! – never been able to get into podcasts. But I kept seeing people talk about My Brother, My Brother, and Me and just generally excitedly recommending all of the McElroy endeavors, so I tried it out and it’s 1. hysterical, and 2. so much easier to listen to than I expected and Crystal and I have been listening to it a lot! (Well, like, one or two a week. YMMV on “a lot”. I know you people are insatiable when it comes to podcasts.) I still don’t know which one is which or whose voice belongs to who, but that’s really fine and I figure after enough time I’ll probably get it and in the meantime I laugh a lot and also extremely love listening to them laugh at each other. What finally convinced me to try listening was this animatic someone did about decorative fettucine. Perhaps it will convince you also if you don’t already listen!


A guy I follow on Instagram (He did merch at a show Crys and I went to and was extremely nice and friendly!) mentioned he was going out on tour with the KVB later this month, so I did as I almost always do when people talk about music in any capacity and went to check them out. I listened through their entire discography and was super into it! I am especially into their most recent album Only Now Forever, especially that eponymous song, “On My Skin,” and “Afterglow,” but the album as a whole is just really solid. It’s that sort of dreamy and ethereal synth pop shoegaze thing, which has been extremely my musical wheelhouse lately and I’m glad to have another discography to add to my playlist and a new “Fans Also Like” section to explore on Spotify.


Because Crystal and I have a long, long, looooong history with Supernatural and because it’s about to go into its final season, we decided to try to catch up so we could watch it in (roughly) real time as it airs. It hasn’t gone exactly to plan — we’re nine episodes into season 13 — but it has been pretty fun! I can’t say that I’ve ever thought of Supernatural as GOOD, per se, even when it was my favorite show, but it has always been a pretty okay time. The characters get both a little better and a little worse each year, but I’ve really fallen for some of the recurring characters (Rowena! Jack! Crowley, obviously! Castiel, sometimes to often!) and have really, really loved the reintroduction of Mary Winchester. If you could go back to 2006 and tell me that this goofy show I was obsessed with would get FIFTEEN SEASONS, I would have laughed in your face. What a wild ride, man.


And three to look forward to…

the addams family   stephen chbosky, imaginary friend   big mouth season 3

totally top three: august 2019

August was… below average. Here’s to September and a lurking, early fall and this stuff I managed to like despite circumstances conspiring against me.


Through whatever algorithmic magic occurred this month, I finally heard a Billie Eilish song and it was pretty good! So then I listened to When We all Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go?! And that was really good! And, were I still compelled to tweet with the frequency and volume I once did, I would have tweeted ‘i finally listened to billie eilish and i enjoyed it am i young again now’ because through the alchemical magic of pop culture, I did kind of feel young! I like “bad guy” A LOT because of the dramatic tempo change (One of my musical weaknesses!) and “you should see me in a crown” is extremely good and I got pretty appropriately obsessed with “my strange addiction” and I love the unsettling opening of “all the good girls go to hell” and its echo-y chorus too. “bury a friend” is also a jam and “listen before i go” is lovely. I really like the layering and reverb and bass drop stuff here and I love that it never feels like it’s hiding either her lyrics or voice. The kids are alright.


Speaking of kids, we watched Rim of the World which was less awful than I expected from McG and actually a very good time. I love when kids get to save the world! And I love and am terrified of aliens! And these had an actually pretty interesting design that didn’t feel like I’d seen it a thousand times (Humanoid aliens are boring!) even if the CGI was lackluster. The kids in this are really funny and charming and smart, especially considering they aren’t working with the greatest script ever produced, and I really appreciated that solving problems always came down to working together and doing the thing that needed to be done, even in the face of extreme fear. It also made me extremely homesick for southern California, despite the apocalyptic alien invasion.


I joke with Crystal all the time that when I conceptually attached myself to Ryland Blackinton way back in 2008 when he was with Cobra Starship (and I made a custom shirt for our three night tour following trip that said ‘RYLAND IS GOD’ on the back…) I really hung my hat on the right guy. He works a lot and every time he shares something new he worked on, I end up loving it. The newest is Goldroom’s Everybody’s Lonely EP which is extremely good, both chill and dance-able, and so far ceaselessly repeatable. Please immediately go listen to “U” and see if you’re capable of holding still when the bass comes in. The highest compliment I can give this EP is that it somehow sounds like electronic music from every decade from the 70s on, including a few we haven’t actually lived through yet. And I’d really like to rollerskate to it.


And five to look forward to…

it: chapter 2   julian winters, how to be remy cameron   villains   shaun hamill, a cosmology of monsters   3 from hell

totally top 3: may 2019


I absolutely loved Claire North’s, The First Fifteen Lives of Harry August. Like I said in my review, once I realized what I was reading, I wasn’t sure that I would like it, but even when it made me feel a little dumb, I enjoyed it. Harry is just an incredibly interesting narrator to hang around with, both because of what he is and also because of the dry way he relays his observations of the world around him. Though he’s never effusive, you can feel these wonderful tremors of joy and anxiety and fear and possibility with just the subtlest change to the narrative voice. Wonderful writing and world-building and a great, simmering queer subtext, and the wonderful line, “He enjoyed toying with me, and, in my way, I enjoyed being toyed with.” — one of the absolutely horniest things I’ve ever read.


I’ve been listening to Phantom Planet’s “BALISONG” and Big Data’s “Put Me to Work” on repeat a LOT all month long. “BALISONG” has this great chugging rhythm and Alex Greenwald’s hypnotic voice rising and falling in all kinds of interesting ways and it’s got me extremely hyped for a full-scale comeback. “Put Me to Work” is fucking great, extremely dance-y and perfectly current while also feeling a little flashback-y like all good synth music. Also, who doesn’t love a shout-y sing-a-long chorus?


I waited a long time to watch Call Me By Your Name because despite my Genuine! Best! Efforts! I am a jerk who sometimes ends up turned off of things because the hype has overwhelmed me! I don’t think it was necessary this time, but man, was it worth the wait anyway. What a lovely piece of moviemaking and storytelling. I’ve been trying to articulate a lot of things about it both as a movie I liked and as a Piece of Queer Media (especially a compare and contrast with Brokeback Mountain, oh man. There are even shirt parallels!) but mostly I keep being grateful (which says something really fucking shameful about pop culture) that this felt like a movie about a gay relationship that I was just able to enjoy as a romance because no one died a horrible death and the heartbreak was just nice regular heartbreak. Progress!?!??! Also, what a lovely story about family, too. (Shoutout to Reid, the tattoo artist I saw a couple of weeks ago who said it “really fucked him up” because I hadn’t seen it yet and couldn’t have a conversation about it, but you know what? Fucking same, dude.)


And three to look forward to…

late night   simon james green, alex in wonderland   the dead don't die