ISBW #267: Feedback

I’m so sorry. So so sorry. I recorded this and edited it before Thanksgiving and… forgot to post it. It’s been a bad month, incidentally. Here are feedbacks for you. Meta cast tomorrow. Happy NaNoWriMo ending!

Bigger apologies since the Obsolete Press deadline is today. *hides in a hole*

 

 

Christmas Song Review: Wonderful Christmas Time

$400,000 in royalties every year. Please don’t stab yourself because of this.

When you have someone like Paul McCartney writing a Christmas song, you have high expectations. You don’t expect Justin Bieber* to write a thoughtful, touching song with depth and purpose, and you don’t expect Paul McCartney to write a dog.

Then I tried to think, well, a bad Neil Gaiman story is pretty much better than any other story, right? Does that mean a bad McCartney song is better than any other song? Can we judge it apart from its “DUDE WAS IN THE BEATLES FOR THOR’S SAKE!” shadow?

No. No, we can’t. Paul, you wrote this damn song, now you will THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU’VE DONE.

The moon is right
The spirit’s up

Ooookay. From the first line, we have puzzling things. What does the moon have to do with Christmas? The moon drives EASTER.** In my mind I suddenly see Paul’s baby face sticking out from under a white hood (druid hood, not KKK) and looking at the moon, and smiling. “It’s time.”

We’re here tonight
And that’s enough

Kind of fatalistic. “We drink, for tomorrow we die!” I know this was written before Linda McCartney had cancer – it if had been written around that time, this line would have had more meaningful weight. I guess you could look at it as, “The world’s problems don’t go away just because of Christmas, so let’s just try to take this moment and enjoy it.” Not a bad message.

Simply having a wonderful Christmas time
Simply having a wonderful Christmas time

Here is, I think, where most people’s Christmas Rage-o-meter starts to rise. It is the first of many repetitions. It reminds me of the Lucille line from Arrested Development. “I sent her on a wonderful cruise. You just missed a wonderful call from her. She just came back from a wonderful costume party that the captain threw. She gained ten pounds, there’s so much food on that boat. She’s up to 74. She tried pesto for the first time. Imagine that, 92 years old and she never tried pesto. It was wonderful. Just wonderful.”

The party’s on
The feelin’s here
That only comes
This time of year

OK, it’s not Shakespeare, but it’s a pop Christmas song from the ’70′s….Written by Paul McCartney. No, Paul, you don’t get a bye. This is “She loves you yeah yeah yeah” level, beginning of career level writing. Not several-decades in. “Hmmm, what rhymes with here… fear, beer, deer, leer, near, rear, sear, tear, veer, YEAR!”

Simply having a wonderful Christmas time
Simply having a wonderful Christmas time

So, going right back to that already, huh?

The choir of children sing their song
Ding dong, ding dong
Ding dong, ding, oh, oh

Oh come on, “oh oh” doesn’t really reflect what’s going on here. We’ve got falsetto “ooo-oooo-ooooo-oooooo-OOOOO! ooo-oooo-ooooo-oooooo-OOOOO! … OOO-OOO-oo!” The pause always confused me. Did the children forget their ooos? Did they miss a ding dong?

And I’m sure there could be a penis joke thrown in here for the “ding dongs” but we’re all above that. And if you’re not, you can make your own joke, I’m sure. (OK, I am NOT above that, see yesterday’s Christmas cock, but I do like the penis jokes to be a bit more subtle than, “huh huh he sang ‘ding dong.’”)

So, what kind of Christmas are you having, Paul?

Simply having a wonderful Christmas time
Simply having a wonderful Christmas time

The word is out
About the town
To lift a glass
Ah, don’t look down

AUGH! WHY NOT? What’s down there? Spiders? Did you pants me? Did you magically transport me high into the sky with Superman-like powers and you’re going to drop me like a bad poetry-spouting Lois Lane if I tell you how bad this song is? Are YOU the bad-poetry-spouting Lois Lane?

But wait, this is the word on the street, all the gangs are talking about it. What does it mean? This verse has always confused me. What are we afraid of at Christmas, Paul? What monster lurks around your loafers?

Simply having a wonderful Christmas time
Simply having a wonderful Christmas time

The choir of children sing their song
They practiced all year long

Ding dong, ding dong
Ding dong, ding dong
Ding dong, ding dong

Oh man. As a parent, I can tell you if a kid had to practice singing their ONE song all year, someone would die. I get twitchy after a couple of weeks with the same piano practice piece. This is not a joyful thing, this is an auditorium filled with parents who are very proud, but also frazzled and fingering pens inside their purses and backpacks, wishing they were knives so they could go rampage if they hear Deck The Halls one…more…time…

Remember when George Bailey lost his shit when his daughter was practicing “Hark! The Herald Angel Sings?” That had nothing to do with the missing $8000, it had everything to do with having heard it one too many times.

The party’s on
The spirit’s up
We’re here tonight
And that’s enough

Simply having a wonderful Christmas time
Simply having a wonderful Christmas time

The moon is right
The spirit’s up
We’re here tonight
And that’s enough

Yeah, ran out of words, it’s cool, just repeat the last verse, we’re at the end anyway, no one will notice.

Simply having a wonderful Christmas time
Simply having a wonderful Christmas time
Simply having a wonderful Christmas time
Simply having a wonderful Christmas time

So admittedly I don’t know a lot about McCartney’s music from the 70′s and 80′s, but sources tell me it was much like this; insipid. LA LA LA LA LA LA daises and dancing and easy rhyming! I saw a bear over there covered in hair! SEND ME ROYALTIES!***

It made me realize how much McCartney needed Lennon to bring him down, and Lennon needed McCartney to bring him up. Together they were like the perfect balance of dinosaurs and sodomy. Alone, McCartney is dancing with the velociraptors.

Grade: D+ It’s not as bad as “Last Christmas,” but lord, it isn’t good.

*Did a quick web search on Bieber just to make sure he was a song writer as well as a hair stylist, and found out more than I wanted to know. His mom’s a bigot, nearly didn’t let him go record with the company that discovered him because the marketing exec was a Jew. WHY didn’t God send her a Christian man to help Justin? *cries* I wonder how she feels about him dating Selena Gomez. And then I realized I just wondered about the Bieber/Gomez relationship and now my self loathing is so extreme I am going to cancel Christmas.

**(Easter takes places on the first Sunday after the first full moon after the Equinox.)

***Wikipedia reports that royalties on “Wonderful Christmastime” are about $400,000 per year. If any creative person reads this and feels suicidal, please call a hotline or listen to my next I Should Be Writing.

Christmas Song Review: Baby, It’s Cold Outside

There were better images for this song, but HOLY SHIT ROD STEWART IS GROWING WOMEN’S LEGS OUT OF HIS HIP. Two more and he will become ARACH-ROD STWEART.

[Trigger warning and foul language ahead.]

Ahhh, Christmas. Mistletoe, presents, innocence, starlight, rebirth, and date rape.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year.

Now, I’m going to be giving a boatload of benefit of the doubt to this song because there’s always someone who complains that it’s a sweet duet about love. I will grant you that this is a cute duet that attempts to be a seduction song. And seduction is sexy and fun when you trust your partner. Sadly, we don’t see a lot of trust here. Nor do we see any reason to trust this guy.

I really can’t stay – Baby it’s cold outside
I’ve got to go away – Baby it’s cold outside
This evening has been – Been hoping that you’d drop in
So very nice – I’ll hold your hands, they’re just like ice

OK, so it’s been a nice evening. We get a sense that it’s like 20, 30 degrees below zero out there and he is really concerned for her imminent frostbite. I mean, it’s “cover every spot of your body” cold. Otherwise why would he be so concerned, is she without coat? They had a good time, but it’s the end of the evening.

My mother will start to worry – Beautiful, what’s your hurry
My father will be pacing the floor – Listen to the fireplace roar
So really I’d better scurry – Beautiful, please don’t hurry
Well Maybe just a half a drink more – Put some music on while I pour

Here comes the coercion. The “awww, do you really have to go? you’re so pretty, and it’s so romantic in here, and your boundaries and concerns mean nothing to me and my CHRISTMAS COCK.”

Think I went too far with Christmas cock? I haven’t even begun.

The neighbors might think – Baby, it’s bad out there
Say, what’s in this drink – No cabs to be had out there

WHOA. What the fuck? Seriously, dude. “Oh gosh I’m SOOOO drunk, I guess I’ll stay and have ANOTHER DRINK WITH YOU BECAUSE THAT IS WHAT THEY SAID TO DO IN 1956 HEALTH CLASS.”

You can’t excuse this line. She is showing suspicion, concern, and distrust. Did he make a double when he said he was making a small drink? Did she not want alcohol at all and he gave her something tasty and hidden? Or did he do the most reprehensible of all, slip her a roofie? What is in the drink, asshole? You stop singing right now and tell me or I’m calling the motherfucking cops before I pass out, you sick pervert.

I wish I knew how – Your eyes are like starlight now

That’s probably my eyes glazing over from the ROOFIE, YOU FUCK.

To break this spell – I’ll take your hat, your hair looks swell
I ought to say no, no, no, sir – Mind if I move a little closer
At least I’m gonna say that I tried – What’s the sense in hurting my pride
I really can’t stay – Baby don’t hold out
Ahh, but it’s cold outside

See, this song is all about him. It’s about his wants, his needs, his pride, his Christmas cock. She’s resisting, but realizing she will lose this battle. “Baby don’t hold out.” Really. Why not? Is your Christmas cock needing some trimming? Is your pride worth more than her reputation, self-worth, boundaries, and rights as another human being?

Now we are at the other unforgivable line of this song.

I simply must go – Baby, it’s cold outside
The answer is no – Ooh baby, it’s cold outside

There it is. How many health classes and college posters say it? No means no. As much as we need to tell the world that “maybe” or “Oh, I don’t know” doesn’t mean yes, we at least can all agree that NO means NO. Right?

It keeps on in this vein. How can you give me blue balls when my Christmas cock is waiting here for you? Your reputation means nothing to me, your worries and your resistance, nothing.

CHRISTMAS COCK RULES ALL.

You know, this song doesn’t mention Christmas at all. At some point someone said, “if it mentions snow, it’s about Christmas.” It’s one of those songs I never heard until I was an adult and now I can’t fucking escape it.

And whenever someone points the discomfort many people have with this song, someone else complains that you’re trying to remove romance from the world, how can people meet up and fall in love if there isn’t just a little bit of date rape in the world? But it seems that what the public sometimes sees as romance, the women involved aren’t even considered.

This iconic post-war image? Romantic? No. It was recently revealed that this woman was pounced on by a drunken celebrating sailor. She didn’t know him; her first introduction was his tongue in her mouth. Check her body language. Bringing this up upsets some people who complain that we’re ruining the romance. The romance was never there in the first place.

The thing that bugs me the most – besides that whole date rape thing – is the fact that the song was written with the line: “Maybe just a cigarette more.” They don’t sing that anymore, they say “half a drink” or “maybe just a few minutes more.” Because cigarettes are bad.

Cigarettes are bad. That is what someone got out of this song. No one thought, “Huh, it’s not considered cool to spike women’s drinks, maybe we should kill that line.” Nope. Cigarettes are bad.

Some people (like She and Him) do a cute role reversal with the song where the woman is trying to get the man to stay, but it still doesn’t gloss over the whole, “Did you slip me something?” And “The answer is no.” You can’t explain that away with romance, and this song is frankly dangerous if it lodges in peoples brain that it’s OK to act like this. It tells men they can wear women down so they will fuck them, and it tells women that resistance and boundaries will be disregarded so you might as well just give in in the name of “romance.”

Grade: G. Yup. It’s not good enough for an F.

I saw a link on twitter this morning that makes me so happy. Lilith Saintcrow posted this video which is entitled “Baby, It’s Consensual Outside.” I really hope someone records this and gives Chase Gregory a big bag of money.

Christmas Song Review: 12 Days of Christmas

OK, as the Cure once said, let’s get happy!

The 12 Days of Christmas. One of the standard Christmas songs, and yet it’s so antiquated and surreal that none of us can relate to it. Few of us know what a calling bird is, much less want four of them around, AND WHO IS GOING TO HAVE TO CLEAN THE CAGE, HUH? THANKS FOR GIVING ME TEN CRAP MACHINES IN THE FIRST FOUR DAYS, TRUE LOVE! Don’t even get me started on the swans and geese. My family had geese when I was growing up. I know from geese. And since the maids are a-milking, do they come with cows? Cause I don’t have a barn. And who knows ten lords, and how much political power does this true love have to convince the lords to come to my house and jump around?

Incidentally I was listening to the radio and a version came on that I had never heard. It had the croony-style of the 1940s, and the dude messed up all the later verses, and it made me physically uncomfortable. 12 lords a-leaping? ARE YOU INSANE, MAN? I’m supposed to get TEN of those. TEN. You fool!

So it’s surreal and illogical, but it’s so deeply set in my psyche that it bugs me when someone gets it wrong. Admittedly, it’s a pointless song, about as relevant as roasting chestnuts. And once you accept that, OK, some weird twitterpated guy out there is sending me birds and servants and possibly cows – and it gets even scarier if you consider the song as compound interest: 12 partridges and pear trees, 35 gold rings, 35 maids a milking, 22 turtle doves, etc – the song is incredibly tedious and repetitive. (I’ll cover overall repetitive Christmas songs on another day.)

Why do I love it so?

Because it is the most parodied Christmas song*, and those parodies are often awesome.

First we’ll look at the 12 Pains of Christmas by Bob Rivers, my far my favorite. I laugh every time I hear this. Every single time. Here’s why- the 12 verses are as follows:

The first thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me…

  1. Finding a Christmas Tree
  2. Rigging up the lights
  3. Hangovers
  4. Sending Christmas cards
  5. Five months of bills
  6. Facing the in-laws
  7. The salvation army
  8. [kid whining]
  9. No parking spaces
  10. Batteries not included
  11. Stale TV specials
  12. Singing Christmas Carols

The funny part though is once the verse has been established, the singers often deviate the next time it’s their turn. So for example, the woman who sings about the in-laws also sings “she’s a witch, I hate her!” and “Gotta make em dinner!” instead of “facing the in-laws.” My favorite is the Christmas Cards guy, who has the line, “Oh, I don’t even KNOW half these people!” Actually guys 2, 3, and 4 are the best, as the rigging up the lights guy goes apoplectic with rage and the hangover guy gets more and more miserable/cranky.

Let’s look at Day 10.

The tenth thing at Christmas that’s such a pain to me:

  • Batteries not included
  • No parking spaces
  • BUY ME SOMETHING
  • Get a job you bum!
  • Oh, facing the in-laws!
  • Five months of bills!
  • Yo-ho sending Christmas cards!
  • Oh Geez, look at this
  • NOW WHY THE HELL ARE THEY BLINKING?
  • And finding a Christmas tree!

The song devolves at the end, I’ll just let you see for yourself.

Another one that is a favorite is only good for Phineas and Ferb fans, which also does a slight deviation from the repetition, only not as often as Bob Rivers does. The fifth day is Doofenshmirtz who wants “the entire tri-state area… or maybe just two states… or one single state… or promotion to colonel sounds pretty good, can I change mine?” The best line is Day 12, which I won’t spoil for the P&F fans- just watch.

Those are the only two I’m going to list, because I could go on all day and I really have some writing and laundry to do. But I can usually be amused by any 12 Days of Christmas song. I think it’s surreal antiquation works for it because you don’t get the outrage of changing the lyrics the way you would if there were a billion parodies of Away in a Manger. Don’t mess with the baby Jesus, but kick those milking maids and their cows out the door to make room for Batteries not included, or a weapon from A Terrorist Christmas (funnier before the turn of the millennium, admittedly), or Perry the Platypus gurgling.

Grade: B

* This is my own experience, it’s possible there is another one more parodied, but I haven’t found it.

Christmas Song Review: Christmas Shoes

I hesitated to write this one today, because I’m not going to be writing reviews of just songs that I hate. Snark is fun, but it’s Christmas, dammit, and I want to be jolly. But Brand Gamblin and Jason Ramboz begged for it yesterday, and I figured I’d get it out of the way. It must be written about. I gotta get it out of my system.

Actually, I got tons of suggestions for future reviews. So I will be doing Christmas Wrapping, Dominic The Donkey, Wonderful Christmastime, and Baby It’s Cold Outside. If you have requests for reviews, leave them in the comments!

So. Christmas Shoes. Hans Christian Anderson’s skeleton is nodding happily to itself somewhere, so very pleased that people are still writing maudlin death stories for the holidays. Mama and the Little Matchstick Girl, hand in hand!

This review will contain swear words. It can’t be helped.

Rob Lowe proves there can be a 120% bounceback after a sex tape scandal. “I was in a shameful movie with Rob Lowe. No, the other movie. The shitty one about the shoes.”

It was almost Christmas time, there I stood in another line
Tryin’ to buy that last gift or two, not really in the Christmas mood

Is anyone in the Christmas mood while shopping? For me, I get to the store, smile at the decorations, but by the time I’m in line, I have exhaustion, anxiety that I’ve purchased the wrong thing or annoyance that I’ve not found what I wanted, and just want some hot chocolate or gin, or hot chocolate AND gin, and my home and a Christmas movie (Something better than The Christmas Shoes, a made for TV movie based on this song). That is to say, dude in line, you’re not unique in this feeling.

Standing right in front of me was a little boy waiting anxiously
Pacing ’round like little boys do
And in his hands he held a pair of shoes

OK, so there’s a kid (who needs to pee) in front of him. Carrying shoes. Nothing too weird about this on the surface, but not a lot of kids buy adult things on their own with no adult nearby. Kind of odd.

Sir, I want to buy these shoes for my Mama, please
It’s Christmas Eve and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir, Daddy says there’s not much time
You see she’s been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes would make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful if Mama meets Jesus tonight

So kid, what you’re telling me is, your mom is dying (presumably of cancer, or more likely movie disease) and instead of being by her side, you’re shopping. No, your DAD has told you there isn’t much time, so that implies he knows you’re out here and you’re buying shoes instead of being with your mom. “There’s not a lot of time, Timmy, come back ‘afore she’s dead, OK? I’ll text you if she looks like she’s goin’.”

And I get that you want the pretty shoes, but your mom is likely in a hospital gown, and the best shoes in the world are NOT going to spruce that up. Also, you never see cadavers’ feet in the coffins, so she won’t need these for the viewing. I’d go for a pair of earrings, myself.

And fuck, kid, what kind of god do you worship that’s going to judge your mama on her accessories? Is that a Commandment I haven’t heard of? I’m suddenly seeing Jesus as Carson from Queer Eye who just rolls his eyes and purses his lips when you get to him, saying that you’re going straight to hell for those Birkenstocks.

And I know this is cynical, that it’s sweet that he wants to do this. But honestly, he should be with his family, and if they’re this poor, save the goddamn money for a morphine drip.

He counted pennies for what seemed like years
Then the cashier said, “Son, there’s not enough here”
He searched his pockets frantically
Then he turned and he looked at me
He said Mama made Christmas good at our house
Though most years she just did without
Tell me Sir, what am I going to do,
Somehow I’ve got to buy her these Christmas shoes

DUDE YOU ARE BEING PLAYED. Those big eyes, the sob story… The little shit probably doesn’t have a sick mom; he is going to turn right around and return the shoes and go buy some licorice or Bey Blades or whatever kids are buying these days.

So I laid the money down, I just had to help him out
I’ll never forget the look on his face when he said
Mama’s gonna look so great

I’m sorry kid, but she’s not. In fact, someone sick with movie disease is usually pale and emaciated, with limp hair. Mama’s going to need a LOT more than shoes to make her look great.

And what the fuck are we teaching our kids that the most important thing at a deathbed is how you look? How obsessed are we with women’s beauty being the most important thing in the world that a boy is worried his Mama is going to hell because she wears Keds?

And Jesus said unto them, ‘Lo, it’s easier for a rich man to fit through the eye of a needle than a woman with shit shoes to get to heaven.”

I knew I’d caught a glimpse of heaven’s love
As he thanked me and ran out
I knew that God had sent that little boy
To remind me just what Christmas is all about

OH MY FUCKING THOR. GOD PLANNED THIS?

God: “Hm, there’s a mortal who isn’t feeling the spirit of Christmas. Let me dedicate my all-powerful mind to solving this problem. Hey! I’ll send a little boy with a dying mom in to need his help, and then he will feel warm and fuzzy inside!”

Dying Mama: “Um. Over here? Dying?”

God: “No, sorry, I need you, see. If you’re not dying then this man won’t see the true meaning of Christmas.”

Dying Mama: “I will see the true meaning of Christmas if you heal me.”

God: “Hush. This man’s epiphany is more important than some poor dying woman.”

This view of God is utterly, completely baffling to me. God has infinite power, and he shows it by FUCKING UP SOMEONE ELSE’S LIFE JUST SO YOU CAN GET A WARM FUZZY BY HELPING THEM (and remember it’s a fake problem the kid has created, the ugly-shoes-that-make-Jesus-hate-you.) God doesn’t make life actually any better. He just puts you in a situation where you can let your Visa make you feel good even though the kid’s mom is going to fucking die anyway… But that’s OK, cause the narrator is who we’re following, not the kid. The narrator goes home to some eggnog and carols, and maybe decorates a tree and ponders the true Meaning of Christmas, yay warm fuzzies and fa la la. The kid goes back to his shack, or the hospital his father can never hope to pay for, and his mom’s probably so far gone she won’t even see the shoes, and he’ll always remember Mom died on Christmas, and fuck Christmas and Jesus anyway cause Jesus didn’t lift a finger to save my mom because he was too busy MAKING SOME FUCK FEEL THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS.

So. What has this song taught us?

Christmas is about looking good even if the last thing you want in the world is to shove your feet into the torture devices that is women’s shoes. Christmas is about leaving your mother’s deathbed in order to go shopping. Christmas is about worrying if you look good enough for Jesus.

Also, you see God’s work when He shows you people who need help, but He doesn’t actually help them Himself. Let the poor woman die, what’s important is we’ve taught this man an important lesson!

God has fucked up priorities. That’s what this song is telling me.

Grade: F-

Christmas Song Review: Last Christmas

Last Christmas, a darkly obsessive cry for help

The thing that gets me about Christmas songs and movies is their reliance on CHRISTMAS overshadowing any failure in the story. Some supposed holiday songs don’t even mention the holidays at all – Jingle Bells, Winter Wonderland, My Favorite Things (which was never played during the holidays as a child, so I’m always suspicious when it’s played during the holidays – but I can cover that song later), and Baby, It’s Cold Outside (hate hate hate rage hate. Again, for another time.)

One song that always makes me kinda sad is not the actual mournful songs, like Blue Christmas, or Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, but the one that sounds hopeful but has an underlying current of self deception and misery. I give you, “Last Christmas” by Wham! (written by George Michael.)

Last Christmas, I gave you my heart
the very next day, you gave it away

Clearly, the singer had his heart broken by a terrible, terrible man. (What, you forgot George Michael’s gay? I know they had girlfriends in the video; they were beards. Let’s move beyond thinking that every song reflects your hetero view of the world, OK?) A man who enjoyed the romance of the season, toyed with the narrator, and then dumped him. We’ve all been there. It sucks.

This year, to save me from tears, I’ll give it to someone special

The narrator – let’s call him George – is determined to move on. This year will be better than the last, bright eyes, open to possibility! Only…

Once bitten and twice shy
I keep my distance
But you still catch my eye
Tell me baby
Do you recognize me?

He’s dwelling on the past, like to the point of me wanting to say, “Hey dude, you need to perhaps get some therapy if you can’t move on from this guy. Let’s hit some singles bars or something. Have a rebound, eat some ice cream, get good and drunk. Let’s burn his Christmas present to you! Catharsis!”

The whole song is like that. While he claims to be finding someone new to love, the message is targeted toward the past and the ex, the mean guy who broke his heart. There’s no, “This Christmas You’ll Help Me Forget Him, Baby.” Or “All I Want For Christmas is a One Night Stand,” or “Rebound Christmas.” Which are still sad but at least would be more honest with himself.

Hm. I bet I could write a book called Rebound Christmas about a woman who got dumped and just wants to find someone fun to be with, no strings, and OMG THEN THEY WILL FALL IN LOVE UNDER THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS. There may be mall elves involved. Because everything is better with mall elves. Hah. I’ll make a mint like those other vapid novels!

Uh, never mind. Moving on.

Now I know what a fool I’ve been
But if you kissed me now
I know you’d fool me again

Now it’s getting obsessive. He’s not moving on. He’s not even considering moving on. He’s standing under the mistletoe, tears glistening in his eyes, saying, “I’m totally over you,” with a slight quaver in his voice, hoping Mr. Heartbreaker will feel the MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS and take him into his arms for a big Christmas kiss. There may be glitter involved.

Now I’ve found a real love you’ll never fool me again

Riiiiight, George. And he lives in Canada and he’s six-foot four with broad shoulders and green bedroom eyes, right? And he was going to be at this Christmas party but he got called in at the last minute to do emergency brain surgery because he’s a brain surgeon slash rugby player slash model. He SO wanted to meet everybody.

This is the only line in the song where he says he’s actually in love with someone. Who I’m sure, if he exists, is totally thrilled with the fact that his boyfriend just wrote an entire “nyah nyah” song to the guy he’s clearly not over. This new, “real love” boyfriend will probably dump him after the party…

Wait a minute. Wham! just blew my mind…

AND THEN NEW BOYFRIEND WILL BECOME NEXT CHRISTMAS’ “LAST CHRISTMAS!” George Michael is stuck in a downward spiral of being dumped on Christmas, finding someone new, obsessing over the old guy, and getting dumped on Christmas again. Like elephants, it’s Last Christmas” all the way down! What was once a kind of sad Christmas song now becomes a terrifying dark look into an obsessive’s soul.

Well played, Wham!. You have more depth than I thought.

Grade: C-

Post holiday catchup

What’s that word when you have been away for a while and you drive 12 hours – broken up by a 1.5 hour funeral along the way home – and you get home and have a migraine and take a pill and wake up completely brain dead and unable to get to work because brain not work good?

Right. The word is AUGH.

I’m home from Thanksgiving in Buffalo and pretty useless. Still in my robe and need to go get the dogs from the kennel soon. So I’m going to keep this short. The biggest thing is people are letting me know that the service I’m using for direct purchase of Merry Christmas from the Heartbreakers (Look! Sidebar! Buy it! Yay! Cyber Monday! Booyah!) is not delivering immediately in some cases. If this happens to you, PLEASE email me (mightymur at gmail). I’ll already have proof of your receipt in my inbox, so if you mail me directly I’ll shoot the files over to you.

[EDIT- As of 12/2/12 I have removed all links to the offending site that didn't deliver. Remember if you bought from me and didn't get your files, EMAIL ME.]

Secondly, I got an awesome thing in the mail when I got home from the trip.

The ARC for The Shambling Guide to New York City is here!

My dress isn’t pretty enough.

This is Victoria. I don’t know her but she has a pretty dress. She deserves to be invited to all the parties. Photo CC licensed by Robert Douglas – BY-SA

Some people like the fact that I show my insecurities on I Should be Writing. It tells them that they are not alone in their insecurities, that they are something to overcome, that you can reach publication while still feeling like someone’s going to knock on your door and demand the advance back because they just found out that YOU ARE A FRAUD.

Others don’t like it because they think I shouldn’t feel that way once I have reached the level in my career that I have. Get over it. I should quit whining; it’s obvious I’m doing OK, I have the writing creds to prove it. And their emails do so much to regulate my emotions. Thanks guys, MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

But in reading [REDACTED] online today I discovered a new negative feeling that comes with the low level of pro writing that I have achieved. It actually comes from reaching a small sense of self worth. Where the feeling USED to be, “Wow, I’d love someday to be invited to contribute to a book like that,” now it’s, “Hey, wait, I’m totally qualified to contribute to that. Why didn’t they invite me? Wait. Am I done? Am I over? Did I never arrive? Did they sample my work and decide, ‘hm, no, not again.’ Or worse, did they read something I wrote online or hear me on a podcast and think, ‘yeah, we’re not inviting that asshole to a project.’ WHY WASN’T I INVITED TO THE PARTY? I WORE MY PRETTY DRESS AND EVERYTHING!” *runs off to eat frosting*

I often liken this career thing to a domed party in the desert. You think that you’re in the desert and all the pro writers are inside the party, and you need but ONE break to open the door and be invited in where there are water, showers, and waiters carrying trays of champagne once you dry off. But once you get in, you realize the party is only along the outer perimeter, and there is ANOTHER party right inside. And inside there? More parties. The parties of the multi-book deal, or the six-figure deal, or the movie option, or the actual movie being made, or the award winners. I had accepted this Dante-esque view of a writing career, but I had never expected that some people who I think are at the same party I am will get invited to other parties while we’re mingling. I mean, we’re all with the cocktails and the humorous WorldCon stories, and then a waiter in tails comes by with a little engraved notecard to hand to my companion, and he reads it and then excuses himself and goes on to the next party. Why didn’t I get one? Did I not wear the right pretty dress?

This is, of course, all metaphorical insecure BS. First, you don’t measure your career with someone else’s career as a yardstick. Second, not everyone can be invited to a party, just the law of averages, or some other mathematical rule, says that they can’t invite every talented person to every project. Third, maybe you’re not the right person – or even good enough – for that project, and that’s OK. Really. As long as you persist, your chances will improve, as will your talent.

Besides, you don’t stay hungry and scrappy by having every opportunity handed to you. The occasional disappointment/letdown/failure will make you fight all the harder next time.

And by you I mean me, obviously.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I had a migraine most of today, but I did manage to bake 3 pies, cook breakfast, feast with the family, and tell y’all how grateful I am for you who are my friends, listeners, readers, or just someone who stumbled on this site looking for something… else.

Although the site is new enough that I’m not sure weird-ass search strings will lead you here. But whatever. Welcome. Thankfulness.

Did I mention I was coming off a migraine? I’m kinda loopy now. But I’m grateful for all sorts of things. Boy howdy.

The book! In case you failed to look to the right to see the sidebar.

Did I also mention I had a Christmas story collection ebook out? I mean, I know I did, but that’s a subtle way to remind you in case you haven’t purchased it. And it’s SCREAMING up the charts. Well. It’s #92 in SF Anthologies on Amazon, which IS A CHART. You can buy directly from me, epub and mobi, via the image below, or buy from the Kindle store.





(Buy directly from me.)

And hey, if you’ve purchased it, THANK YOU! And if you can’t or don’t want to, but you have enjoyed my Xmas stories in the past, throw a review at Amazon, would ya?

Merry Christmas from the Heartbreakers and Other Stories

My collection!

I have finally gathered my dozen Christmas short stories into a collection, and have published them via ebook! Fans of Escape Pod’s holiday stories, of which i’ve been part for years, will hopefully appreciate this collect, as it comes with seven I’ve published through them, and five that have only been read by people who donated to the EP fundraiser last holiday season. You can find

  • Merry Christmas from the Heartbreakers (obviously!)
  • Santa in My Pocket
  • Zuzu’s Bell
  • 750,000 of Your Friends Like This
  • Citytalkers
  • As Solitary as an Oyster
  • MESSAGE REDACTED (which is based on Jonathan Coulton’s song “Chiron Beta Prime“)

and several others. If you want to ask “Is XXX in there?” It probably is, as I’ve left nothing out.

You can buy directly from me, epub and mobi for the cost of a caloric bomb of a Gingerbread Latte from Starbucks ($3.99).





(Note, I am no longer using the site I was using before. This is paypal –> download page. No waiting!)

You can also buy from the Kindle store.

I’m a big fan of Christmas and loved writing these, and hope you love reading them!

(Thanks to my buddy Matt Wallace for the intro to UploadNSell, which will take the money, distribute the files, and not charge a dime. Matt has used it for his awesome book launch, The Failed Cities (definitive edition), which everyone should buy right after they shop here.)