Thursday, December 18, 2014

2014 Soundtrack

I do this every year. These songs are what I loved this year, or what reminds me of this year, and are arranged in my preferred listening order. The playlist fits on an 80-minute CD.

Download the zipped folder here. Then, like, unzip it. If the songs get lost in your media library, just search for the ones with the genre labeled "Dan2014".



U2 - Invisible

U2 sprang “Invisible” on us during the Super Bowl commercials. I say “us”, but assuredly I was the only one at the Super Bowl party go gave a rat’s ass that this song was available for free download for the next 24 hours, thanks to a (RED) charity promotion. Honestly, the first thing I did after walking a few blocks home in the cold was fire up iTunes and grab the song. It was the beginning of a year full of U2.

Though their album (Also free via iTunes! Did you hear?) was delayed until Fall, Scott Aukerman and Adam Scott’s “U Talkin’ U2 To Me” podcast filled the gap. The Scotts led me to:
  • Watch a ZooTV era concert on YouTube
  • Watch the Red Rocks concert on YouTube
  • Sing “Bad” loudly at my kids while shaking a rattle, in an attempt to calm their cries
  • Re-evaluate “How to Dismantle an Atomic Bomb” on the way to the airport
  • Laugh heartily at the “Stained Glass” podcast episode while waiting for a flight
  • Enjoy “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” on a recycling/Freddy’s Frozen Custard outing
  • Download the tracks I was missing from Zooropa
  • Buy discounted and remastered versions of “War” and “Unforgettable Fire”
  • Download their 2001 Notre Dame concert, featuring an endless Bono speech on third-world debt
  • Download their 1987 Illinois show, featuring Bono saying “Chicago” in a Da Bears style accent during “Bullet the Blue Sky”
  • Create an animated gif where Aukerman looks like Bono’s Macphisto
  • Seriously consider purchasing Fly-style sunglasses from www.theflyshades.com
  • Seriously consider putting Fly-style sunglasses on my Christmas list before deciding I couldn’t live with myself for owning $120 sunglasses shipped from Portugal
  • Perform “One” at karaoke in Nashville
  • Perform “With or Without You” at karaoke in Kansas City
  • Enthusiastically listen to “Songs of Innocence” and post a review on Phil’s Facebook page
  • Receive a CD of lullabye-d U2 songs
  • Watch some of the (RED) concert from Times Square where Chris Martin and Bruce Springsteen subbed in for the injured Bono, but, like, WOOF those guys did not sound great
The first version of this soundtrack had six U2 songs on it. Yikes!


The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Hey Paul

After the first few days of hearing people say, “Hey, Paul” to my newborn child, I remembered this song existed. I didn’t remember how it sounded, though, until I pulled it out of my hard drive. That’s when I saw that the band had a song called “Anne with an E” on their second album. That’s Lizzy’s middle name! WHOA!


St. Vincent - Digital Witness

Every album, St. Vincent has a song I really love, but I struggle to get into the other songs. 


Blur - Tender

I picked up Blur’s greatest hits this year, and had flashbacks when hearing “Tender”. I completely forgot I knew this song, thanks to repeated plays by Phil during college.



The New Pornographers - Backstairs

I had a fever for four straight days in September, a few weeks after “Brill Bruisers” was released. So I was at that point in my relationship with the album where several songs were getting stuck in my head, and I was worried that hearing the repeating chorus of “Backstairs” while tossing and turning and hoping for the fever to break would cause me to hate the song and the album forever. But it didn’t.



Danzig - Twist of Cain

My peak of listening to this song corresponded with the Royals’ playoff run, wherein Lorenzo Cain was named the ALCS MVP. It’s an amazing coincidence on par with the similarities between Abraham Lincoln and John F. Kennedy.



Weezer - Ain’t Got Nobody

Nice comeback album by Weezer. I listen to a lot of podcasts when I do yard work, and now I’ll probably think about Marc Maron’s interview of Rivers Cuomo every time I plant grass. You will note that this song ends with “doo-doo-doo”s.



Spoon - Do You

You will note that this song begins with “doo-doo-doo”s. I saw Spoon live at Liberty Hall on September 21, and it was much more impressive than the last two times I’ve seen them. (And I had liked those previous shows!) The stage setup was pretty neat. There was a big mirrorball dreidel thingy hanging from the ceiling that was put into use during this song. Like this:




Best Coast - I Don’t Know How

I use year-end best-of lists to sample a lot of artists’ songs, and this one came up in a 2013 list. It grew on me. I bet this song would be terrible if a dude sang it.


First Aid Kit - Heaven Knows

Sometimes a podcast will end before my commute, and I won’t want to fumble with my phone to start another, so I switch the stereo over to CD mode. This CD spent a long time in the chamber as I waited for new music to buy. No matter what track it was playing when I switched over, I made sure I heard “Heaven Knows” before I pulled into the parking lot.


Hospitality - Last Words

This is a good album, and I feel bad that my main memory of this song is hearing it in my headphones as I deplaned in Kansas City and hit the restroom.


Talking Heads - Swamp (live)

Stop Making Sense was another stop in my YouTube concert series, watching stuff via Roku in the living room while the infants just kinda laid around and wished they could sit up. I hadn’t seen it before, and it was good, but I expected a bit more from the inflatable suit gag. (Molly was shocked to hear this, and explained that she and Casey used to restage the concert with action figures. Weird childhood, ladies.) I’m still a little confused about my education in the Talking Heads - there are probably some great less known songs of theirs that I’d enjoy, but I’m not going to buy all their albums to figure out what those songs might be.


We Were Promised Jetpacks - Peaks and Troughs

I am glad the title to this song tells me part of what’s said in the chorus, because those Scottish accents can be tough. I do enjoy how the Scots can rhyme “been” and “clean” precisely.


Ghostface Killah - Be Easy

As I mentioned above, I deplaned with headphones like, twice in 2014. Oh, that’s not interesting at all? Well, that’s true. Anyway, I took a flight to Tucson for Jeff’s wedding, and I was pretty sleepy when we landed, but this song pumped me up. It was definitely the most pumped up I’ve ever felt while watching yokels struggle with overhead luggage bins. Later, I was rocking Sleater-Kinney’s “Jumper” as I descended an escalator, and for the first time ever saw my last name held on a placard. By MY DRIVER. Oh, the luxury! (It was the same price as a cab, but still, that’s a quality start to a vacation.)

So, back to the song. It’s my favorite rap song of all time, even though I don’t know the words, and I haven’t heard any other songs in Mr. Killah’s solo oeuvre. I wish people would clue me in on more rap with this kind of bounce. I’m not into wearing headphones around while walking about town, but this experience showed me why people choose to do that.


Kishi Bashi - Philosophize In It! Chemicalize With It!

I listened to this album stream on NPR for one reason: to hear what type of music came from the winners of 2014’s worst indie rock press photo contest.



Even if you ignore the look that bushy beard is giving the camera, there is a lot to dislike about this photo. Too much extraneous clothing, for sure. The woods - bands really love to take these pictures in the woods. Just go live in the woods, why don’t you? And boy oh boy, that mirror. As Gav pointed out, the mirror is there to show us a reflection of PART OF A TREE. We’re already in the woods, guys! We see the trees!

So, I was somewhat conflicted to find that I enjoyed the first half of this album.


Stars - Turn It Up

This is everything I want from a Stars song.


The Pains of Being Pure at Heart - Simple and Sure

Normally a High Fidelity-type rule would prevent one from putting two songs from the same band on a playlist like this, but I am kind of a rebel who plays by his own rules. This was in heavy rotation for me all year, and it was also in a Hershey’s commercial that was in less heavy rotation for me.


Valley Lodge - Go

This song, also the theme song to John Oliver’s “Last Week Tonight”, was written and sung by comedian and podcaster and musician (doy) Dave Hill. I fell head over heels for  Dave this year, beginning with his amazing tale of performing stand-up in Sing-Sing prison. That led to listening to other podcast appearances and his own new podcast, The Goddamn Dave Hill Show. He frequently plays guitar riffs on his show, primarily Danzig’s “Mother” and Kansas’ “Carry on my Wayward Son”, but somehow that never gets old, and leads you down a pretty neat path to more Danzig (see above). I anticipate much of next year’s soundtrack to be inspired by Dave’s good taste.


Rose Windows - Native Dreams

After listening to over 200 Uhh Yeah Dude podcasts, I finally liked a song they used as intro music.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Labored Days

I do still think about the blog. Like, when I'm researching images I can use for a presentation, and strange results occur, I'm like, "That's going on the blog."


And I keep notes that I think I might develop into a post.
overrated cheeses
asiago
white cheddar
feta maybe?
But the situation is this: my free time is limited due to these children, and I have chosen to abandon the internet during those respites. I'm trying these weird moves like "watching television without looking at Twitter at the same time".

Another issue: do I want this thing to be a dad blog? I've been leaning toward no. But I also think back on how little I wrote during cancer, and I think I will regret that most of the documentation I will have on that time is my medical chart. My kids take up half of Facebook's bandwidth, though, so their development won't be lost to history; maybe my blog can live without them. But content is harder to come by when most of your current events are related to the kids. Do you want to hear about the leaves I raked while I was away from the kids on Saturday morning? Well, there were a lot of leaves. I listened to some podcasts. I also killed some weeds and planted some more grass. Is that good? Is that blog gold?

Third, sickness. The kids were sick over Labor Day weekend and a while after. And then I got sick -- I had a fever for 4 days and that was only slightly less bad than getting poison ivy pretty bad right after the illness subsided.

Fourth, these Royals. The only reason I took the time to write this is because of their Game 6 seven-run second inning. It's a real laffer. The MLB postseason lasts forever. Pity those fans of perennial winners who have to watch this many playoff games every Fall!

That's it. That's the blog news.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Joke-Cards Wild

Back in the early '90s, I would read Beckett Baseball Card Monthly, to check up on my wise investments. Which of the mass-produced sports cards I purchased in the highly over-saturated market are worth big money? Which are mere common cards, which I can toss in a box and not look at again until my mom wants to clean out her storage space?

One issue of Beckett showed me how to take a sports card and make it hilarious. So I did! I did. I turned some of my cards into jokes, which I'm sure were only seen by myself and my brother and possibly a disinterested cousin. UNTIL NOW! I cleaned out a box in the basement, and can now share the hilarity.

[Note - images are poor because I scanned them to pdf and then took a screenshot, because we're not exactly dealing with fine art so I didn't fuss over dpi and whatnot.]



This bunch is classic. You take the player's photo and you make it hilarious by adding some speech bubbles, or some artwork. A+ work, tween me!


Okay, okay. This batch it a little confusing. Just marking on cards with highlighters isn't really funny. Why use a Randy Johnson card in the first place? The man is wasn't a LEGEND yet, but he was still really good at that point in time, and I defaced the card. It could be worth like $1.30 in mint condition! Wade Taylor and Kevin Brown replaced with comically mismatched heads? That's pretty funny.


Whoa, I bought some football cards? Gosh, this is funny. His mouth is open and he looks so goofy! This joke definitely holds up.


Basketball cards! These are all perfect. Dwayne Schintzius (R.I.P.) was actually from Florida and not a California surfer dude, but hey! He's got a mullet and a funny look on his face, so this joke is perfect! Joe Wolf DOES look like he could be the Statue of Liberty! Rick Mahorn and Larry Bird do seem to be enjoying a funny joke together! And Bill Hanzlik, 1986 All-Defense Second Teamer, does look like an ACME brand "safe" safe is falling on his head!


Huh. I guess Darrell May's swing follow-through does look a bit like Barry Bonds', but it also looks like almost every left-handed hitter's. And, uh...

Look, as a grown man, I can see that Oil Can Boyd does not look much like Hollywood director Spike Lee. To a kid whose only exposure to Spike Lee was Nike commercials, and whose only other exposure to black men was through The Cosby Show, A Different World, and The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, it's another story. Any black man wearing oversized frames looked like Spike Lee to me. 


Okay. Okay, okay. Uh. Okay. So,

Yeah, maybe Bucks guard Lester Conner doesn't look exactly like Magic Johnson. Maybe these past two cards give the impression I was a racist kid. But does he look ENTIRELY unlike Magic? Definitely not.

And yeah, you're probably wondering if my speech bubble for Rockets guard Dave Jamerson is an HIV joke. Look at the racist kid, making fun of the black guy with HIV.

Well, I honestly don't know if it's an HIV joke. It was a long time ago. Does Jamerson saying, "OH NO! GET AWAY! GET AWAY!" fit his expression in the photo? Yes, it does. Would it still be applicable if the Lakers legend had not contracted HIV? Yes, it would. Even the ref has a funny look on his face in this photo, so let's not let what may or may not be a slap in the face of the HIV-positive community affect how we view this very funny joke. Very funny!

Last, here's my favorite:


Jack Clark was a four-time All Star with nearly 350 career dingers. So why did I put a thought bubble that reads, "I STINK" on his card? Why did I ETCH it into the cardboard, rather than simply write it on a piece of paper and glue it to the card, like I did with all the rest?

I like to think that I saw the look on Jack's face, and determined that it was one of existential dread or self-doubt. Sorry, Jack Clark! You stink!

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Burnin' Love

I'm positive we all have very vivid memories of Wednesday, October 8, 2008, when I first discussed the video to Blue Oyster Cult's "Burnin' For You". 

Since Pete Holmes talked to him about his insane performances at Sing Sing prison, I've been listening to Dave Hill's podcast (The Goddamn Dave Hill Show - the Malcolm Gladwell from March 18 is a good introduction) and following him on Twitter. Yesterday, he wrote a fun piece on the BOC video:

It has everything a summer rock jam should: sweet guitar solos, killer harmonies, bombastic drums and throbbing bass; you can even hear the band members’ mustaches if you listen closely enough. These weren’t boys playing rock & roll — these were goddamn men. In fact, I heard a rumor that Buck Dharma and the guys all tried to go clean-shaven once and those mustaches grew back within a half-hour.
As hinted in the title, “Burnin’ for You” is about a guy who totally wants to get with some chick and hopefully have consensual intercourse with her at some point, a reliable topic if you’re looking to write one of the greatest summer rock jams of all time. But what sets “Burnin’ for You” apart from all the other songs about that stuff is that the guy in question doesn’t even have a home or anything, only he’s such a badass he seriously doesn’t give a fuck — all he cares about is boning this chick, which is awesome.
What makes “Burnin’ for You” even better is the video Blue Öyster Cult made to go with it. It starts off with all five of the band members walking out onto this graffiti-covered stretch of cement under a bridge at night and every one of them is just like, “I’m in Blue Öyster Cult — fuck you.” Then, once they start playing the song, a bunch of street toughs show up to watch them, only the band is rocking so hard they don’t even fucking notice. Meanwhile, the guy I was talking about earlier is just driving around town looking for this chick in this sweet old car that I’m guessing he probably lives in.
About halfway through the song, the chick, who is totally hot in a 1981 sort of way, shows up under the bridge too. Lead BÖC dude Buck Dharma notices her for like a second, but then he’s all like, “I would totally make out with her, but I can’t because I’m about to rip one of the sweetest guitar solos ever in like two seconds.”  Then, from out of nowhere, the dude in the car shows up under the bridge too, before bursting into flames right there in the driver’s seat because by that point his boner is totally out of control. And even though the fucking guy is burning to death right behind them in his car, the guys in Blue Öyster Cult are like, “Hey, we can’t worry about that shit right now — we’re in the middle of playing one of the greatest songs of all time.” But just when you think the guy in the car is toast, he suddenly shows up right next to that chick and you breath a sigh of relief as you realize the guy melting inside the car is just a mannequin or something.
When the video ends, all the guys in Blue Öyster Cult just stand there looking awesome and the hot chick is just stumbling around in front of them all alone like she’s kind of hammered but still having a pretty good time. But get this — the dude from before is nowhere to be found. I’m guessing he was just like, “Great — first I don’t have a home and now my car is completely torched. I’m getting the fuck outta here before any more crazy shit happens.”
Holy shit, this song is fucking awesome.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

What Women Want

List of things ladies love:

mozzerella sticks
tv shows empowering women or featuring women acting like ****s
turkey sandwiches
pomegranate stuff
large keychains
small chunks of ice, such as is used by Sonic Drive Ins
white queso dip

Monday, June 09, 2014

Light Reading

So yeah, I kinda gave up on reading.

Until last week’s business trip, I hadn’t read a novel or short story since Red Harvest, which I bought at a Barnes and Noble a few Christmases back only because I refused to pay $17.99 for one of their CDs, even if I was using a gift card.

The last contemporary book I read was The Art of Fielding. That book was not good. A college baseball player gets the yips, and his gay roommate has a sexual relationship with the college president, and his teammate bones the president’s daughter, and so does he. Uh, great? Good job, everybody. You’re all creeps.

So you have that feeling of “Oops, I spent a lot of time reading this thing that I ended up hating,” which leads to, “Maybe I’ll only read critically acclaimed or famous texts,” which leads to, “Screw it, I’ve only got 15 minutes to spare, I’ll just read Twitter instead.” And honestly, I have no regrets.

From The Onion, duh.

And when I don’t want to run down my phone battery, I always have this Anthology of American Literature, Volume II, 8th Edition that I took from Mlada a few years ago and still haven’t returned. I hauled this heavy thing in my carry-on, and finally cracked it on my return flight. I read a Henry James story, Daisy Miller, mostly because I think he’s mentioned as a favorite of Hugh Grant’s character in Notting Hill.

It was okay! Nineteenth century well-to-do social circles, Europeans and Americans, and so forth. And I learned that malaria was called “Roman Fever” back then, in Rome at least.

Was it better than reading Twitter, or my Feedly queue, or the articles linked within those platforms? It was certainly better than having a dead smartphone battery when I arrived back at my airport of origin. OF THAT I AM CERTAIN.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

This Desert Wife

I touched down in Tucson late on April 10 and listened to Sleater-Kinney’s “Jumper” as other passengers lumbered through the motions of deplaning. I composed a tweet I never sent: Did you ever think, “Why the hell are all these people flying to Tucson?”


For what I assume was the same price as a taxi, I had a driver meet me at baggage claim. He was dressed nice and held a placard with my name written on it and everything.


The desert air was noticeably more fragrant than what I was breathing on the plane and in the airport.


The driver told me what I wanted to know about the city, and asked Siri to confirm his estimate of the population of Nogales, on the border an hour south, as if I really wanted to exchange Nogales fact precision for my safety while he fiddled with his phone and the steering wheel. There was a deer crossing sign on the road, but he hadn’t seen one in years. He said a golfer fought off a bear a few years back.


It took me forever to find my hotel room. I dumped my luggage and went downstairs, and between the hotel lobby and the pool was Jeff, the groom, seated with friends around a fake bonfire on a “croquet green” of artificial grass.


* * *


I somewhat intentionally forgot to pack a swimsuit. Prior experiences with hotel pools have been less than exciting -- I get in and I splash around for a few minutes, and then I’m bored and I’m wondering how long I should stay in the water to make the rigamarole “worth it”. So I’ve nicely forced myself into a more authentic Arizona experience. On my second day, I leave the hotel oasis for the real desert.


I am terrified of being sunburned, though, so instead of one full trail hike, I spend about one hour on each. First, Ventana Canyon, and then Bear Canyon. I didn’t see any bears. But I did get to see a ton of rocks, and scorched earth, and I touched a saguaro cactus and thought about how my only prior experiences with cacti involved Looney Toons, and I felt the desert sun on my sunscreened skin, and I thought about old timey cowboys camping out in this bullshit, and I constantly thought about how many years these desert cities had left before the World Water Wars prompted their abandonment.





On my last night in town, I was in a somewhat warm hotel pool at 2 a.m. I rested my head on the concrete, and my direct line of view was a huge saguaro cactus in its 100th or so year of life, and the full moon above us. I appreciated that view appropriately, and then dripped up to my room for a fitful sleep while my lower right leg cramped.


* * *


Before we all enjoyed the pool, there was a dance, and before that a dinner, and before that a wedding. I was asked to prepare a reading, and given very few guidelines.


At my going-away party at Jeff’s apartment in 2003, he me a CD of Foghat’s greatest hits and told me to check out “Drivin’ Wheel”. We decided not to use the lyrics for the reading, but they do impart strong feelings of the marital love:
Feelin' good, can't be realMust be dreamin' 'bout my drivin' wheelRollin' on, drivin' onCome to me and rock me all night longWe've got a roll goin', too good to stopFlyin' high, we've got too far to dropEverybody needs somebody to loveI've got you and that's love enoughYou're my drivin' wheelYou're my drivin' wheelYou're my drivin' wheelPowerful love, steady rollMove my body and it rock my soulLet me ride, let me slideGot that lovin' feelin', way down insideYou got me walkin', goin' round and aroundYou got me talkin' but I can't hear a soundLove comes easy when the goin' is toughMay be crazy, I may be in loveYou're my drivin' wheel, yeahYou're my drivin' wheel, yeahYou're my drivin' wheel, yeahEvery night feelin' high, flyin' rightCan't believe all the love that I feelEasy rider, you're a love exciterYou're my love, you're my drivin' wheelYou're my drivin' wheelYou're my drivin' wheel, yeahYou're my drivin' wheelYou're my drivin' wheelKeep on drivin' me baby'Cause you're my drivin' wheelI love the way I feel'Cause you're my, 'cause you're my drivin' wheelLet me ride, let me slide, whooC'mon baby, give it to me babyYeah, we gotta ride, we gotta rideWe gotta ride, we gotta rideWe gotta ride, ride, ride, yeah


I know Jeff liked the music of Morphine, but I’m not an expert. I thought “The Night” had a lyric that was passable:
Unknown the unlit world of old, you're the sounds I never heard beforeOff the map where the wild things grow, another world outside my doorHere I stand I'm all alone, drive me down the pitch black roadLilah, you're my only home and I can't make it on my own


But I quickly narrowed my focus to F. Scott Fitzgerald. There was a “Tender is the Night” quote that was lovely but melancholy:
“Think how you love me," she whispered. "I don’t ask you to love me always like this, but I ask you to remember. Somewhere inside me there’ll always be the person I am to-night.”


There was a passage from “The Beautiful and Damned” about the protagonist’s future wife that was very complimentary but rang a bit hollow:
...as she talked and caught his eyes and turned her lovely head, she moved him as he had never been moved before....She was a sun, radiant, growing, gathering light and storing it--then after an eternity pouring it forth in a glance, the fragment of a sentence, to that part of him that cherished all beauty.


And there was a part of a Fitzgerald letter that was widely reproduced online - it was even in a Buzzfeed list of “12 Quotes That Make You Wish F. Scott Fitzgerald Would Write You A Love Letter.”:
I fell in love with her courage, her sincerity, and her flaming self-respect. And it’s these things I’d believe in, even if the whole world indulged in wild suspicions that she wasn’t all she should be. I love her and it’s the beginning of everything.


It seemed promising, but I’m a jaded old man who doesn’t trust Buzzfeed’s journalistic precision, so I started to look deeper for the source of the quote. Luckily, “flaming self-respect” is not all that common a phrase, and Google Books led me to an expanded version of the letter. The passage was taken from a letter written to a friend (Isabelle Amorous, the sister of a classmate) after she inquired if Zelda and Scott had broken off their engagement, and advised Scott do so if he hadn’t yet:
No personality as strong as Zelda’s could go without getting criticisms and as you say she is not above reproach. I’ve always known that. Any girl who gets stewed in public, who frankly enjoys and tells shocking stories, who smokes constantly and makes the remark that she has “kissed thousands of men and intends to kiss thousands more,” cannot be considered beyond reproach even if above it. But Isabelle, I fell in love with her courage, her sincerity and her flaming self-respect and its these things I’d believe in, even if the whole world indulged in wild suspicions that she wasn’t all that she should be. But of course the real reason, Isabelle, is that I love her and that’s the beginning and end of everything. You’re still a Catholic, but Zelda’s the only God I have left now.


It was a nondenominational ceremony, but the last sentence felt too nondenominational to me, and Jeff was slightly concerned that the guests could be confused by the passage if it wasn’t set up properly. So while riding shotgun as Jeff picked up his tux and rented an amplifier, I typed a proper introduction. The reading was as follows:

When searching for the perfect piece of literature for this reading, after ruling out Foghat lyrics, I turned to Minnesota native F Scott Fitzgerald, who grew up a few blocks from the Grand Avenue apartment Jeff rented in Saint Paul.
F Scott Fitzgerald came into prominence during the 1920s, the Jazz Age, which is a term he actually coined. You probably remember him best as the author of the great American novel and horrible 3D movie "The Great Gatsby."
But before he became a successful author he was in the army, stationed in Alabama, and that was how he met Zelda. Zelda was not a proper Southern Belle. She was locally famous for being bold, outspoken, and unconventional; she flirted and drank and danced the Charleston.
In fact, her reputation was so notorious that a friend of Fitzgerald's wrote to him to voice her concerns about their engagement. The following is taken from the letter Fitzgerald wrote in response, where he explains why he wants to marry Zelda, despite her perceived faults:

No personality as strong as Zelda’s could go without getting criticisms and as you say she is not above reproach. I’ve always known that. Any girl who gets stewed in public, who frankly enjoys and tells shocking stories, who smokes constantly and makes the remark that she has “kissed thousands of men and intends to kiss thousands more,” cannot be considered beyond reproach even if above it. But I fell in love with her courage, her sincerity and her flaming self-respect and its these things I’d believe in, even if the whole world indulged in wild suspicious that she wasn’t all that she should be. But of course the real reason is that I love her, and that’s the beginning and end of everything.