Postmodern Jukebox

Stumbling across Orkestra Obsolete‘s hauntingly awesome (hauntsome?) cover of Blue Monday the other day led me into one of those internet rabbit holes.

You know the kind. You start off clicking off on a link about the recent extinction of bees and six hours later you come to and the lights have been turned off, the sun has descended, you smell funny, and your screen is covered in open tabs on everything from UFO conspiracy theories to the pollenation patterns of South Australian cacti.

TVTropes is lousy for this stuff, as I’ve mentioned before. But YouTube is pretty horrendous for it as well.

Anyway, it was Orkestra Obsolete‘s video yesterday (and Glenavailable’s comment) that put me in mind of the meta-retro soundtrack of BioShock Infinite, featuring such gems as Soft Cell’s Tainted Love, REM’s Shiny Happy People, and Tears for Fears’ Everybody Wants to Rule the World (my personal favorite). These iconic tracks were re-recorded in the style of the early twentieth century, and they are brilliant, making an already excellent game that much more memorable.

So I was re-listening to some of those tracks and that’s when the bottom of the rabbit hole dropped out from under me, because that’s when I discovered PostModern Jukebox. (Turns out that the guy who does the piano on those BioShock tracks started this group.)

How have I been living my life and not knowing about this? They take the best (and worst) pop music of the last couple decades and fling it back in time to the era of lounge lizards and doo-wop girls and … well.

It’s awesome.

If you’re not familiar, you owe it to yourself to go check it out.

Here’s one of my all-time favorite songs, which is now even more all-time favoritey:

And if you were already familiar, you owe me a fargoing explanation for not cluing me in to this before now.


The Weekly Re-Motivator: Balls

The prompt for the week is “ball,” and while I usually use the prompt to re-evaluate and re-motivate myself for the week, I’m just not having the coherent thoughts needed for a post like that this morning. Maybe it’s the fact that I was up way too late last night, or maybe it’s because I’m reaching a fatigue point between work and coaching and writing and everything else. So, a little different today:

A series of different types of balls (cue the Beavis & Butthead laughs) and the way they’re like writing.


Sports Ball (any type): The game can only be won if you keep your eye on it and move it deftly toward the goal, overcoming the defense mounted by whoever ow whatever your opposition happens to be.

The Ball, Stadion, Football, The Pitch, Grass, Game

Ball and Chain: No, not your wife (or husband!); sometimes the project gets heavy, like a weight attached to your 20’s era black-and-white striped prisoner’s leg. We have to know when to set the project aside and focus on something else to relieve us of the weight and the stress.

Caught, Prison, Chain, Metal, Fig, Ball

Snow Ball: The project rolls downhill, gathering snow and twigs and squirrels and whatever it rolls over. When it’s moving under its own weight, stay out of its way.

Idiot Ball: A tvtropes favorite of mine. The idiot ball is a metaphorical object carried by a character who is being hopelessly obtuse and overlooking something obvious that would solve the problem of the day. If you’re not careful, this can become you. Double-check yourself from time to time to make sure the problems and solutions you’ve created actually make sense.

Ballroom dance: Sometimes the narrative needs to be as graceful as one: every step measured, every gesture flawless. Of course, the opposite is also true:

Latin, Dance, Tango, Ballroom, Dancing Couple

Wrecking Ball: Sometimes the narrative needs some devastation. Hop on the wrecking ball and smash it through some walls, knock down some central constructs, destroy what you thought your story was all about. Then rebuild it better than before.

Ball of Yarn: It seems like a good idea to have tons of different storylines woven together into an un-tangle-able knot of overlapping conflicts. But too much of a good thing quickly becomes a bad thing. The central conflict of a story has to be straightforward, though not necessarily simple. Less ball-of-yarn, more frayed sweater. Tugging on that loose thread should lead us inexorably toward the end of the story.

Wool, Yarn, Balls, Hobbies, Craft, Knitting, Needlework

Ball Lightning: one of those things which doesn’t seem like it should exist, and maybe/probably it doesn’t. This is a ball of pure condensed energy that falls to earth, rolls around unpredictably, then blows the fargo up, effecting some degree of burn damage and electrical disturbance and, you know, death. Sounds like a good template for a character.

I’m tapped out on this one, which disappoints me a little. So I turn to my readers. What other literary balls (huh huh, huh huh) am I leaving out?

This weekly remotivational post is part of Stream of Consciousness Saturday. Every weekend, I use Linda G. Hill’s prompt to refocus my efforts and evaluate my process, sometimes with productive results.