Thursday, January 29, 2009


I stole this, I did. From suchducks. meme.

These will be the rules on this journey:

1. Go to the page of your number one artist
2. Follow the link of it's number one similar artist
3. Repeat that for this artist and so on
4. Note down each artist
5. Do this until you've got to 50 artists

If you get any repeats, just go to the second similar artist or the nearest one that you haven't already had.'s related artist thing isn't very accurate in terms of style similarity. Just kind of like 'lots of people who listen to They Might Be Giants listen to Barenaked Ladies.'


1. The Mountain Goats
2. The Extra Glenns
3. Little Wings
4. Thanksgiving
5. Adrian Orange
6. Mount Eerie
7. The Microphones
8. Woelv
9. Karl Blau
10. The Halo Benders
11. Beat Happening
12. Tiger Trap
13. Talulah Gosh
14. Another Sunny Day
15. The Orchids
16. The Sea Urchins
17. Even as We Speak
18. The Field Mice
19. Blueboy
20. Brighter
21. Trembling Blue Stars
22. Aberdeen
23. Pants Yell!
24. The Aislers Set
25. Pipas
26. The Lucksmiths
27. The Guild League
28. Ruck Rover
29. The Mabels
30. Mid-State Orange (How fantastic a name is that?)
31. Poundsign
32. The Autumn Teen Sound
33. Brideshead
34. The Springfields
35. Action Painting!
36. Gentle Despite
37. Tramway
38. The Sweetest Ache
39. Northern Picture Library
40. The Hit Parade
41. Harvey Williams
42. The Harvest Ministers
43. The Sugargliders
44. The Poppyheads
45. Razorcuts
46. Mighty Mighty
47. The Siddeleys
48. Strawberry Story (The artist description, I think, is excellent:
"Strawberry Story are a fey bunch of dreamy, cardigan clinging romantics who sing about love, geeks and lemonade. They sound like candyfloss on a summer’s day, if you beat that candyfloss into the face of a smurf with the blunt end of your guitar while standing a little too close to the amp.")
49. Red Sleeping Beauty
50. Confetti

Okay. We go from sometimes-lo-fi folk-ishness to more lo-fi folk to indie rock to an 'all-female twee-pop foursome', weird, to more indie pop/twee to obscure indie pop to Australian twee pop to plain twee to Swedish twee to English twee, and we're done.

So, in conclusion, twee.

Also, "The (insert random-yet-slightly-cryptic object here)s" band name formula is very, very overused.

Monday, January 26, 2009

just sit right back and you'll hear a tale

I wrote a poem, a ballad, during senior year for English, and it was based on an episode of The Office (Initiation, S3 Ep5). I posted it in the Office community on livejournal, but I want to stick it here as well because I'm extremely proud of it.

As someone pointed out on LJ, it fits the tune of the Gilligan's Island theme song. Which makes sense, because it's in ballad metre, as are Amazing Grace and countless other hymns and poems. It's fun to sing, though a few lines don't fit exactly because I couldn't get them to, and also because I wasn't thinking about common metre at the time.

So. Here you go:

The Ballad of Sir Dwight and of His Quest to Be Accepted and Liked by Ryan, Subsequently Becoming an Unstoppable Team That Competed Against Other Teams

There lived a man, brave and strong
Who dwelled on a farm of beets.
He alone, and his cousin Mose
At ping pong were elites.

This man was Dwight, and he was awesome;
His coworkers feared him greatly,
Though not as he thought, because of his might,
But for he was an idiot.

Among the beets lived he peacefully,
Indulging in his every whim.
Spud guns, paintballs, a crossbow range
He tried to lord these things o’er Jim.

Then one day, newb Ryan came
To be mentored by Sir Dwight.
He’d teach him his greatest business tricks,
But first, young Ryan must FIGHT!

Must fight a foe, though not one who
Could be slain by sword or knife,
But to a businessman holds the power
To destroy career and life.

This foe was FEAR, aka Mose.
Dwight’s cousin fair and true.
Like Ryan, if you don’t be careful,
FEAR may sneak up on you.

Fear snuck up on that boy Ryan,
But he was not surprised.
He stood there, sighed, and shook his head
Most likely he rolled his eyes.

Ryan said, “No. You are a freak. I‘m not doing this.”
But good Sir Dwight would not give up.
Dwight said, “Just get in the coffin.”
And that scared him, the poor ol’ pup.

Then Ryan walked right out of that barn,
And to Mose Sir Dwight did turn.
“Where are all the animals?” he angrily inquired.
For the resolved matter did Dwight yearn.

And so, away lad Ryan went.
He ran and ran and ran.
But still, Sir Dwight pursued him
In his old souped-up Trans Am.

He pulled right up beside young Ryan
Who down the road was walking,
And since Ryan still seemed mad,
Sir Dwight did all the talking.

“I am very, very sorry, you know
And Mose is sorry too.
He made a basket of eggs and bacon,
And he’s giving them to you,

And here you go: a figurine.
It’s something that he whittled.
I really hope we can still be friends,
That you’ll like me just a little.”

So off on a sales call they did go.
Young Ryan gave his all.
But alas! He did not get the sale, so
Dwight and Ryan egged their walls.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

we all woke up that morning, claw marks on our little faces

Hi. Hey. What is going on?

I don't like that compare people application on facebook. It always hurts my feelings. It always tells me my weakness is being a best friend. And being tough. And being adventurous, which is admittedly kind of true.

I, uh, just torrented?downloaded?stole the entire Mountain Goats discography, which is definitely not totally comprehensive, but is way freaking more than I had. I have so much to memorize. I always feel guilty if I can't remember the words to songs by bands I love, which is basically They Might Be Giants and the Mountain Goats. I hate to be singing along, and being into the song, and in tune with the emotion of the whole thing, and not being able to remember the words. It's so frustrating and gah.

My geography teacher is really nerdy and hilarious and animated and emphatic and has a speaking pattern and cadence similar to John Darnielle, the way he emphasizes strange syllables of words. It is awesome. Everything he says, I find insanely interesting, even when he's talking about something like colonial style houses, which is something I really have no interest in, I'll be completely riveted. He stresses g-sounds weirdly, like Good and reGulation. John Darnielle does that a lot. Cracks me up.

I found a nerdfighter note in one of the Looking For Alaskas at the Barnes and Noble I went to today. I'd never been there before, and it was HUGE. Way, way, way bigger than any bookstore I'd been in previously. It had a freakin' escalator. I bought a hardback Alaska, and the second volume of Octavian Nothing, which I am hoping will motivate me to finish the first, which I have been very procrastinatory about even though I really like it. But the internet is just there, and it is easy, and it is interesting, and it's big.

I also got Neutral Milk Hotel's In the Aeroplane Over the Sea, even though I already had it, but I always feel bad when I like an artist's music but just rip it from library cds or something. I am a very guilt-ridden person, it seems like. I don't know. I got Heretic Pride too because I was feeling, and still feel, extremely horrible about taking all of John Darnielle's music.

And I wrote and put nerdfighter notes in all the copies of John's books I could find, which was only 6, which made me very sad. Three paperbacks of Alaska, one of Katherines, one mangled copy of Paper Towns in the YA section, and one downstairs marked 20% off.


That is all.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Valerie answers a survey.

Stolen from facebook John Green. Type your name into Google with the verb that comes after in the question. Answer with your favorites from the first page of google results. Have fun!

Q: Type in "[your name] needs" in the Google search.
A: "Valerie needs to weed out those who seek only to waste her time as soon as possible." (Yes.) "Valerie needs to back off of Danny so Sam can date him and I hate her." :(

Q: Type in "[your name] looks like" in Google search.

A: "Valerie looks like Carrie-Anne Moss in that picture." "Valerie looks like a 'giant blowdrier.'" (actually 'which, according to Valerie, looks' but I like it anyway) "Valerie looks like that because that is what my nation thinks a beautiful woman looks like." (awww)

Q: Type in "[your name] says" in Google search.

A: "Valerie says goodbye to sweet image."

Q: Type in "[your name] wants" in Google search.

A: "Valerie wants to catch Siberian Husky!" (!) "Valerie wants to cuddle-jump Brett." (Brett who? BrettTheIntern? What?)

Q:Type in "[your name] does" in Google search.
A: "Valerie does another classic Leno."

Q: Type in "[your name] hates" in Google search.

A: "Valerie hates myspace." (True.) "Valerie hates cheese." (FALSE) "Valerie hates the weird ventilator's ball." (Probably?)

Q: Type in "[your name] asks" in Google search.

A: "Valerie asks Oprah about kissing another woman." (No I don't/haven't/won't/BLAH.) "Valerie asks me to do 'homework' in between each session, and she always asks to see it during the next one." (Yes. I am thorough.)

Q: Type in "[your name] likes " in Google search.
A: "Valerie likes to gossip about her life, including her psychotherapy sessions, her dream of being a lounge singer and her motherboard's tendency to nag her about her social life." (Motherboard. Social life. What are these things?) "Valerie likes to wear wigs and costumes." (No I do not.) "Valerie likes acid bath." (NO)

Q: Type in "[your name] eats " in Google search.
A: "Valerie eats, breaths, and sleeps love." (NO, I BREATHE. STUPID.) "Valerie eats her braids." "Valerie eats the New Year's ball!!" (Bahahahah!)

Q: Type in "[your name] wears " in Google search.
A: "Valerie wears a toga on her birthday and has people sign it." >.> "Valerie wears a weighted walk vest and goes on 1 mile walks."

Q: Type in "[your name] was arrested for" in Google Search.
A: "Valerie was arrested for interfering with her son's arrest and kicking an officer."

Q: Type in "[your name] loves" in Google Search.

A. "Valerie loves you." (That is every single result, so it must be true.)

Saturday, January 10, 2009

This man.

TMG Sydney freakout, originally uploaded by Lalitree.

He is amazing.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Everything I Underlined in Paper Towns

This is going to be long, but I am going to do it, because I love these words:

"Getting you a date to prom is so hard that the hypothetical idea itself is actually used to cut diamonds," I added.

She looked up at me, her face mostly revealed now, and she smiled just the littlest bit. "It amazes me that you can find all this shit even remotely interesting."
"College: getting in or not getting in. Trouble: getting in or not getting in. School: getting A's or getting D's. Career: having or not having. House: big or small, owning or renting. Money: having or not having. It's all so boring."

Margo managed to speak in her usual manic soliloquy without answering my question. "Did you know that for pretty much the entire history of the human species, the average life span was less than thirty years? You could count on ten yours or so of real adulthood, right? There was no planning for retirement. There was no planning for a career. There was no planning. No time for planning. No time for a future. But then the life spans started getting longer, and people started having more and more future, and so they spent more time thinking about it. About the future. And now life has become the future. Every moment of your life is lived for the future--you go to high school so you can go to college so you can get a good job so you can get a nice house so you can afford to send your kids to college so they can get a good job so they can get a nice house so they can afford to send their kids to college."

I stopped at the stop sign at the end of the street, and Margo said, "What the hell? Go go go go go," and I said, "Oh, right," because I had forgotten that I was throwing caution to the wind and everything.

Margo's beauty was a kind of sealed vessel of perfection--uncracked and uncrackable.

As I put my hand on the steering wheel, I noticed my pointer finger was blue. I held it up for Margo to see. She smiled, and held out her own blue finger, and then they touched, and her blue finger was pushing against mine softly and my pulse failed to slow.

"Here's what's not beautiful about it: from here, you can't see the rust or the cracked paint or whatever, but you can tell what the place really is. You see how fake it all is. it's not even hard enough to be made out of plastic. It's a paper town. I mean look at it, Q: look at all those cul-de-sacs, those streets that turn in on themselves, all the houses that were built to fall apart. All those paper people living in their paper houses, burning the future to stay warm. All the paper kids drinking beer some bum bought for them at the paper convenience store. Everyone demented with the mania of owning things. All the things paper-thin and paper-frail. And all the people, too. I've lived here for eighteen years and I have never once in my life come across anyone who cares about anything that matters."

"That's sweet," she answered, her voice trailing off. She turned to me and nodded softly. I smiled. She smiled. I believed the smile. We walked to the stairs and then ran down them. At the bottom of each flight, I jumped off the bottom step and clicked my heels to make her laugh, and she laughed. I thought I was cheering her up. I thought she was cheerable. I thought maybe if I could be confident, something might happen between us.
I was wrong.

All of page 61.


And for those two minutes we just stared at each other, and I watched the blue in her eyes. it was nice--in the dark and the quiet, with no possibility of me saying anything to screw it up, and her eyes looking back, like there was something in me worth seeing.

And I felt the unbroken line of me and of her stretching back from our cribs to the dead guy to acquaintanceship to now. And I wanted to tell her that the pleasure for me wasn't planning or doing or leaving; the pleasure was in seeing our strings cross and separate and then come back together--but that seemed too cheesy to say, and anyway, she was standing up.

She either trusted me or wanted to fall.

She raised her eyebrows finally, and smiled, and I believed the smile.

Best wishes

All of pages 104 and 105.

But I think about the circles kid sometimes, because I can sort of understand him. I always liked routine. I suppose I never found boredom very boring. I doubted I could explain it to someone like Margo, but drawing circles through life struck me as a kind of reasonable insanity.

[...]but I had--stupidly, embarrassingly--thought of finding Margo, and getting her to come home with me just in time for prom, like late on Saturday night, and we'd walk into the Hilton ballroom wearing jeans and ratty T-shirts, and we'd be just in time for the last dance, and we'd dance while everyone pointed at us and marveled at the return of Margo, and then we'd fox-trot the hell out of there and go get ice cream at Friendly's.

"Q!" he shouted over the music. "How good does this feel?"
And I knew exactly what Ben meant: he meant listening to the Mountain Goats with your friends in a car that runs on a Wednesday morning in May on the way to Margo and whatever Margotastic prize came with finding her. "It beats calculus," I answered. The music was too loud for us to talk. Once we got out of Jefferson Park, we rolled down the one window that worked so the world would know we had good taste in music.

The smell leaves me seized by desperate panic--panic not like my lungs are out of air, but like the atmosphere itself is out of air. I think maybe the reason I have spent most of my life being afraid is that I have been trying to prepare myself, to train my body for the real fear when it comes. But I am not prepared.

You will go to the paper towns and you will never come back.

In tenth grade, I once drank a bottle of pink "wine" at a band party. It tasted as bad going down as it did coming up.

He lowered the beer sword and tapped me on each shoulder. "By the power of the superglue beer sword, I hereby designate you my driver!"
"Thanks," I said. "Don't puke in the minivan."

So Lacey and I followed Ben downstairs, where he opened the door to Becca's room and said, "Your party kicked so much ass! Even though you suck so much! It's like instead of blood, your heart pumps liquid suck! But thanks for the beer!"

Lacey sat next to him, because "I should make sure he doesn't puke or beat himself to death with his beer hand or whatever."

All of page 199.


"Please stop," I said. "You're upsetting the black Santas."

I got up and walked over to the maps and tore them off the wall, the pins and tacks flying out with the paper and falling to the ground. I balled up the maps and threw them in the garbage can. On my way back to bed I stepped on a tack, like an idiot, and even though I was annoyed and exhausted and out of pseudovisions and ideas, I had to pick up all the thumbtacks scattered around the carpet so I didn't step on them later. I just wanted to punch the wall, but I had to pick up those stupid goddamned thumbtacks. When I finished, I got back into bed and socked my pillow, my teeth clenched.

It is so hard to leave--until you leave. And then it is the easiest goddamned thing in the world.

Ben put a hand on her elbow. "Well, but you can eat Grandma's cookies. They're not bad for you. They were made by Grandma. Grandma wouldn't hurt you."

And I can't help but feel that Whitman, for all his blustering beauty, might have been just a bit too optimistic. We can hear others, and we can travel to them without moving, and we can imagine them, and we are all connected one to the other by a crazy root system like so many leaves of grass--but the game makes me wonder whether we can really ever fully become another.

I tell her: we were dead, and then Ben managed to spin the car in just the right way, like some kind of brilliant vehicular ballerina.

Imagining isn't perfect. You can't get all the way inside someone else. I could never have imagined Margo's anger at being found, or the story she was writing over. But imagining being someone else, or the world being something else, is the only way in. It is the machine that kills fascists.

All of pages 301 and 302.


The grass will grow back soon enough. It will be for us the beautiful uncut hair of graves.

It is saying these things that keeps us from falling apart. And maybe by imagining these futures we can make them real, and maybe not, but either way we must imagine them. The light rushes out and floods in.

The last line.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

We may be stupid, but we're not clever.

Ok, so. The Office is on tv. It's the episode when Holly first arrives, and Dwight and Meredith have just put a raccoon in Holly's car, and there is a Ferris wheel, and a moon bounce, which Kevin is extremely excited about. I wish they hadn't gotten rid of Holly. I like her. Haven't seen the newest two episodes yet though, so I don't know what's going on.

Steve Carell is a lovely man. He doesn't even need to do anything; he can just stare straight ahead, doing nothing, and he's completely hilarious. I remember on Ellen a while ago, she was saying that. That everyone just has a mood that their face exudes, when they're really neutral, not making any face, relaxed. And Steve Carell looks naturally angry, with his furrowed-looking brow. And Ellen said she looks scared, which was true. I think I naturally look ticked off.

Hahahahh one of my favorite storylines of this season...that Holly thinks Kevin is mentally challenged. So great. Cause, if you didn't know Kevin, he really looks that way. And I love that Kevin just thinks she likes him. So so good.

Another thing: Michael's crying, that's perfectly amazing. Like he's in pain. And crying. And exerting so much effort.

I'm reading Octavian Nothing, which has a ridiculously long title. The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Volume 1: The Pox Party. Not as bad as Mr. Hodgman. But still.

When I first skimmed it, I was worried that the style of the writing, the old English, would be like Shakespeare was/is sometimes for me: too complicated and full so that I can't just read straight through, like a normal book, but that I need to really focus, sentence by sentence, to get the full meaning of the text. But it's not like that. Even though the speech is antiquated, I can understand it fine, and it's really interesting and relatable and feels real, which is sometimes hard for me to grasp with older style writing. So that's good.

I had a plan in December to read 50 books by the beginning of the next December, but then I only read one book, and there was a week and a half of December left, so I am going to have that be my new year's resolution. After both volumes of Octavian, I'm going to read Looking for Alaska for the second time, then Katherines, then maybe Gatsby, Animal Farm, When You Are Engulfed in Flames, 1984, and Mr. Hodgman's new book.

This is really boring. This blog post.

Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry are brilliant: