Praise of Oberst From an Adult

I know that these days, Bright Eyes is largely considered music for dejected teenagers, but I still really love “Fevers and Mirrors”. I am one of those people who gets Seasonal Affective Disorder. It's a strange condition because even if things are fine in your life, it's difficult to shake the overall sense of melancholy that dark and damp days on end bring. Each winter since I first heard the album, I find myself coming back to it and there's always a different song or lyric that strikes a chord with me, depending on what my circumstances are. For instance, the first year I owned the album, I couldn't get through “The Calendar Hung Itself” without getting emotional. The album is full of dark themes, but there are rays of hope, and even…jokes in the form of a mock “interview” in which Oberst actually lampoons himself.

Interviewer: Now, let me now if I'm getting too personal, but there seem to be a pretty dark past back there somewhere. What was it like for you growing up?
Oberst: Dark? Not really… uh… actually I had a great childhood. My parents were wonderful. I went to a Catholic school. They have… they had money so… it… It was all… easy. Basically I had everything I wanted handed to me.
Interviewer: Really? So some of the references, like babies in bathtubs, are not biographical?
Oberst: Well I do have a brother who died in a bathtub. Drowned… Actually I had five brothers who died that way.
Interviewer: Hah!
Oberst: No, I'm serious. My mother drowned one every year for five consecutive years…They were all named Padriag, so, that's…they all got one song.

I bet you didn't know he had a sense of humor. Granted this album came out in 2000. It's possible that he's lost his sense of humor since then and slipped into delusions of grandiose self-loathing. But I'll always employ “Fevers and Mirrors” to help me get through the winter.

No matter what songs feel appropriate in what years, there is usually one line that helps to assuage my general S.A.D.:

“Winter's gonna end, I'm gonna clean these veins again”.

It may seem unequivocal, but sometimes sometimes it's helpful, in the midst of endless dark and gloomy days, to be reminded that seasons are temporal and you can always start over.

Yes. It makes me crazy.

Ok guys. Seriously. ENOUGH with the Gnarls Barkley covers! I can NOT get away from this song. Look at this list from Wikipedia of all the different versions of this song:

Cover versions and remixes
Possibly due to the song's enormous chart success and international popularity it is frequently covered by other artists: The Kooks,[13] Nelly Furtado,[14] and The Zutons have covered “Crazy” on BBC Radio 1's Live Lounge. Folk singer Ray LaMontagne has also covered the song,[15] and Paris Hilton had delayed the release of her debut album Paris to include a cover of “Crazy” as well,[16] although it was not included in the final track list. Other artists, including The Raconteurs,[17] Billy Idol,[18] The Academy Is… (with Schleprok of Gym Class Heroes),[19], The Roots, and Texas,[20] and The Twilight Singers have performed cover versions of the song live in concert. As of August 2006 no cover version has seen an official release.
Similarly, many unofficial remixes and mashups of the song were released as white labels and are circulating on file sharing networks and MP3 blogs. The Discount Rhinos Full Control Remix of the track even reached number 15 of the Australian ARIA Club chart.[10]

Since when was it ok to cover a song in the year it was released? And why are so many musicians picking this song anyway? Am I the only one who finds it rage-inducing?

I’m Old

So I just got home and I'm eating a late-night bowl of cereal/dinner. I flipped through the channels on the tv and came across the MTV Video Awards and it threw me into a quandary. I'm not sure if I'm drunk, completely out of touch, or losing my mind but who the hell are the All American Rejects and since when was Paris Hilton an independent film producer? Why is Stevo from Jackass cool? Nick Lachey is incapable of reading a teleprompter naturally. Madonna's latest video looks like a work-out tape. I think I will change the channel now before I start to seriously fear for the youth of our nation.

meliorate

Jessica creates a meme!

Through a unique combination of boredom and geektitude, my brain to ponder what certain comicbook characters might listen to. Here are my theories. If you’re game, I’d love to hear what others think. Also, feel free to add characters.

Make with the nerdiness!

1. Superman – Matchbox 20
2. Batman – Nine Inch Nails
3. Robin – Wham!
4. Hulk – Sepultura
5. Aquaman – Erasure
6. Wolverine – The Doors
7. Cyclops – Rush
8. Wonder Woman – Indigo Girls
9. Captain America – Toby Keith
10. Catwoman – Souxsie & The Banshees
11. Punisher – Social Distortion
12. Swamp Thing – Enya
13. Storm – Black Eyed Peas (old skool)
14. Gambit – Creedence Clearwater Revival
15. Daredevil – The Rolling Stones
16. Hellboy – Metallica
17. Magneto – Pet Shop Boys
18. Lex Luthor – Electric Light Orchestra
19. The Joker – Weird Al Yankovic
20. Dark Phoenix – Ani DiFranco

that's craaaaazy

You KNOW you want to hear Paris Hilton's music. Hear her do the songs that Paula Abdul rejected for “Forever Your Girl”.

It's interesting to note that Paris' voice sounds different on each track. I'm sure that's a sign of her diversity and not that she paid people to sing for her while she was out buying purses for her dog.

made from Cactus, Russel?

WEEKEND RECAP

Friday

Around 6:30, my friends Ryan and The Kidd came over to get me ridiculously baked and drive my ass to Everett. The Kidd was just taking us up there and leaving. Ryan and I would have no ride home. At the time, we weren’t concerned. There HAD to be a bus that left Everett, right? Besides, it would be a rock n’ roll adventure. Little did we know, seeing Oasis at the Everett Events Center is about the LEAST rock and roll thing a person can do.

The ride up was promising. Ryan played DJ in the backseat by spinning the best Oasis b-sides (as every Oasis fan knows, are the best Oasis tunes). The Kidd dropped us off at the Events Center around 7:45. The show had started at 7, but we couldn’t be bothered with the openers, Kasabian & Jet. I didn’t expect much hassle from the bag checkers. Why should I? The guy looked inside my bag and was set to move me along when he noticed my patches.

“Are those safety pins on your bag, ma’am?”, he asked.

“Yes. They’re holding on the patches,” I said.

“Well, you’re going to have to remove them and throw them away,” he said sternly.

“Are you serious?” I asked. “What kind of damage can a person do with safety pins?”

“I’m sorry, ma’am. It’s regulations.”

As I huffily removed all my safety pins, I muttered about how ridiculous it all was. Ryan concurred.

“Do you know how many times I’ve flown with these pins on this bag?” I asked. “They don’t even let nail clippers on airplanes but they don’t care about safety pins.”

“I’m sorry ma’am,” he said again. I know it’s not his fault but COME ON! Safety pins! They have the word “safety” in the name!

Anyway, even after that little annoying incident, we entered the building in high spirits. I wasn’t drinking that night on account of my stomach still feeling a bit weak, but Ryan purchased a double-fister and, this being an all-ages show, we had to stand along the wall by the concessions stand to drink them. We could hear the irritating strains of Jet as we scanned the crowd. After a while, we realized this was the WEIRDEST crowd we had seen at a show in a long time. There were Dockers everywhere. Girls in tube tops strolled along with ex-frat boys now in their early thirties. A middle-aged woman in what appeared to be a house-frock, stood along side some younger adults with beer-in-hand. A couple of guys who looked like they came right from the office strolled by. Ryan and I wondered if we had the wrong night and we were actually about to see Third Eye Blind or something. Or perhaps there is so little to do in Everett that the entire town turns up to a gig at the Events Center, no matter who’s playing. Even with the tame crowd, cops sauntered around like giant twats with moustaches, actually HASSLING the 30-somethings. One such group was asked to show their I.D.s for the beers they were holding. Another group was hassled for a good 10 minutes by two mustachioed cops. I couldn’t hear what the altercation about was about, but it was clear that these perfectly law-abiding people were being bothered for no reason. When it was obvious to the cops that they had nothing on these guys, they sauntered away, pausing to exchange smug glances with a nearby security guard. WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON IN EVERETT! Ryan and I were definitely losing heart by this point. As Jet finished spewing their shitty Gap inspired “rock and roll”, we went in to the arena to find our seats. We were right above the floor and had thought it might be easy to sneak down TO the floor. That was before we knew there WAS no floor. What should have been a sea of people standing around waiting to be rocked, was actually row after row of folding chairs, filled with people sitting dutifully. Some people stopped in the aisles, talking to each other. A security guard came by and told them they had to sit in their seats. Are you kidding me? No one at this show was under 20 and we were all being treated like a fucking after-school day-care. The crowd continued to weird me out. To our left was a group of people who appeared to be dressed as the Kinks. They were hanging out with Mr. Kotter. A woman in a short-shirt and cowboy hat strolled by about a hundred times, stopping periodically to put her arms over her head and cheer. More people in work clothes scrambled to find their seats as the lights dimmed. The sense of normalcy came from a small gathering of English guys around my age who were excited as hell to see some boys from back home.

When Oasis came out on stage, I knew instantly that they were not going to give a good show. Their body language was heavy. They were tired. They didn’t know where they were and they didn’t care. They stared out at a half-empty arena and decided to plow through their set as quickly as possible so they could get the fuck out of there. “Where the fuck are we?” asked Noel. “Everett!”, someone shouted. “Everett? What the fuck is Everett? Is that Seattle?” he snarked. “No. I know. I went to Seattle today. It was forty-five fucking minutes away.” Later he introduced a song by saying “Ever have one of those days where everything comes together in a zenlike fashion? This is not one of those days.” He never addressed the audience again. Meanwhile, Liam was being a twat, which I love. During the guitar solos, he would come to the front of the stage and just stand there, arms crossed. At one point, he balanced his tambourine on his head. At another point, he hid behind a stack. It was all kind of funny. But I couldn’t help but feel his heart wasn’t in it. The played only two new songs. The rest of the time, they plowed through the hits like it was a Revue. The English guys didn’t care. They sang their hearts out. It was pretty cute and the only thing that really kept me entertained throughout. Oh well.

After the show, Ryan and I wandered around Everett looking for the bus station. We asked a few passers by for directions but…surprise surprise, no one was from there! In half an hour, the entire town seemed evacuated and Ryan and I were hopelessly lost. We found a Texaco station and asked for directions. The told us the bus station was 10 blocks away, but that he was pretty sure they weren’t running until morning. Everett. Finally, Ryan broke down and said he’d pay for a cab. Back to Seattle. I wasn’t going to argue. He was hoping we’d get a cool cabbie who would be interested in bartering with weed. We didn’t. $60 later, we were back in Seattle. Everett. Not going to do that again.

I was home (thanks to a kind Dom who picked me up from Ryan’s) at 1:00 and took solace a rerun of Star Trek TNG (the one with Hue!) before going to bed.

Saturday

I make no apologies for sleeping in till noon. It was fantastic. I’m pretty sure I needed the rest. Dom and I watched some TV and putted around the apartment until dinner time. Faye came over, we exchanged presents and then went to get some dinner at Toreros on Broadway. We got to the Nite Lite around 8:15. Cherry wasn’t there and we didn’t really know if we should ask about getting in the back room since she was the one who reserved it. Sherrard finally got up the courage to ask someone. We entered a fairly large room full of extremely random décor. None of the wallpaper matched. One wall was lined with shiny red and white cloth. Still, it was kinda cool. People began to stream in and the rest of the night is kind of a blur. Not because I was drunk (I only had 3 drinks!) but because people came and went constantly. Large parties like that are fun but also difficult because, if you’re hosting them, it’s impossible to talk to anyone for longer than 10 minutes at a time.

Matt bought me a drink I’d never had before called a Greyhound. I really liked it. I’m so picky about mixed drinks. A Greyhound is grapefruit juice and vodka and I think I like it more than vodka and orange. So that was cool.

Dom and I made out with some pretty cool gifts. Sherrard got me a great print of the “Rude Boy” one-sheet. The tagline for that movie is “Grab the future by its face”. I think that might be my favorite tagline of all time. Especially since it has NOTHING to do with the movie itself. Faye and I were very excited to give Sherrard his “Alone in the Dark” theme gift which included the movie, the t-shirt and a copy of “I Wish I Had An Angel”. He seemed pleased. Erin got me and Dom and copy of the Suicide Girls book, which I had bought for Ryan and was coveting. I actually knew what it was before I opened it just based on the size of the book. Kayobi got me some delicious, booze-filled chocolates. Faye got me the DVD of “Knowing Me, Knowing You with Alan Partridge”. I’m VERY excited about that. Love the Steve Coogan. Sherrard got Dom a book on Paul Verhoeven which is full of fantastic pictures and inspirational quotes from the man himself. Love the Verhoeven. Faye also got Dom a game that looks pretty cool called “Darkwatch”. Birthdays are nice.

For some reason, me, Dom, Borgia and Faye all pooped out around 12:30 and cabbed it back to the Hill. This turned out to be a highlight of the evening. The cabby had the radio on and we heard “She’s Got a Way” followed by “Hold On” by Wilson Phillips. For some reason, we were in a singing mood and we sang along to both, Faye throwing some sweet harmonies in to the latter number. The cabby said we sounded better than Wilson Phillips. Awesome. And all this fun was had sober. Who knew?

Sunday

I put together a book shelf while I watched “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2”. Then I went to yoga. After yoga, Dom and I watched the last episode of Doctor Who with Christopher Eccleston. I was very very sad at the end because SPOILER he turned into some other dude. Granted, it was a very clever way of dealing with Christopher Eccleston leaving the show without killing him off. And the new Doctor is pretty damned hot. But I doubt the new guy will be able to exude the same dangerous, sexy, creepy and charming British James-Spader-ness of Christopher Eccleston. Plus, I’m going to miss that charming Northern accent. Damnit. End Spoiler

Then I tried to finish the Jenna Jameson book before bed so I could return it to the library. I couldn’t do it. Despite being filled with (sexy) pictures, it’s also chock full of words and is taking me a long time to get through. I highly recommend it though, if you’re a fan (maybe even if you aren’t). She’s very well-spoken and has had a difficult and interesting life. The book is engaging and honest. And overdue. Doh!

mont salami ammeter collaborate terse abusive

WEEKEND RECAP: THE CONCLUSION

MONDAY

Ben, Dom, Sherrard and I arrived at Seattle Center in reasonably jolly spirits. We parked Ben’s car, paid the ridiculous parking fee, and wandered toward one of the many entrances. Around that time, Ahe called me to inquire after my whereabouts, for she was already at the main stage waiting for the Decemberists to play. Having never had a problem before, I told her I would be there momentarily, right after I picked up my ticket. I had forgotten that Will Call was on the other side of the Seattle Center. So, being the little nerds we are, we made jokes about quests and riddles that must be solved in order to enter Bumbershoot. I definitely found it strange when we arrived at Will Call, and there was a sign which read “Send only one representative up to the window, bring two forms of I.D.”. Funny, I thought I was just picking up tickets to an event, not the dossier of a top secret government official. So up to the window I went, and handed them my driver’s license and credit card. After a few minutes (!), the lady handed me my ticket. Ticket? I ordered TWO tickets. One for me and one for Dom. That, I thought, is why my credit card was charged $36 plus a service fee. Is THIS the service they were talking about? I told her that I definitely bought and paid for TWO tickets. I even got an email confirmation for said transaction which I foolishly did NOT print out because of my pathetic human faith in the robots that run the system. She asked “did you buy the tickets on the 25th?” “Yeeeeeees.” “Oh. Well, apparently, there were some computer glitches with a number of orders that day. Yours must have been one of those orders.” Ok. Any respectable business would have then said “So here’s the other ticket you ordered. Have fun!” She did not do this. Instead, she “offered” to take my credit card and call the “head office” to see if she could find a trace of the other ticket. Meanwhile, some other poor girl was going through the same bullshit at another window. She kept asking them if she could just get in there and check her email to show them she did, indeed, buy her ticket. This, again, should have been reason for them to admit mistake and just fucking hand the things over. But nay. 15 minutes later, I was called back up to the window. “I’m sorry, ma’am, we can’t find the other ticket”. “Um. Ok, how do I get my money back for the other ticket I paid you guys for?” “That’s a matter you’ll have to sort out you’re your credit card company.” “I have to call my credit card company for your computer glitch?” “Yes ma’am”. “Can I buy another ticket from you for the original, pre-day of show price?” “I’m sorry. I can’t do that.” I’m sure you’re real fucking sorry lady. This was my queue to stomp away from the window and begin an impotent string of obscenities as I stormed up the street. I realize it’s probably not that particular lady’s fault, which is why I didn’t yell at HER. But, who’s fault is it? And what kind of dystopia of customer service do we live in when I have to track down retribution for a mistake that Bumbershoot ADMITS to have made?

So, this being the day of the show, the ticket prices have gone up TEN FUCKING DOLLARS. Dom kindly suggested that he just go home so I don’t have to buy another ticket. But I didn’t let him do that. I just bought another exorbitantly priced ticket for a festival that used to be free, and asked the cashier who I should call to voice my outrage about having to buy another ticket. He told me, and we entered into the pit of the hippie and frozen banana hell that is Bumbershoot.

I checked the time and saw that if we tried to see the Decemberists, we could stay for, maybe, one song before having to head over to the comedy stage to get in line. So instead we opted to buy lunch in the Centre House and cut our losses. Or rather, MY loss, and everyone else’s misfortune for being around a crabby Jessica.

By the time we got in line for Patton, I was feeling a bit better. I was still outraged, but Patton is Patton and I knew that, barring any further fiasco that would prevent me from seeing Patton, I would be ok. We were in line at 1:30 for the 3:00 show. That may seem ridiculous, but, trust me, it was necessary. After a while, Chris and his friend (whose name STILL escapes me) showed up, followed by his friend’s girlfriend and about a billion of Ben’s countless acquaintances. A few of us played cards (with my fan-made Serenity playing cards that I procured at Comic-Con. Joss’ face is on the Aces. Yes, I am a NEEERD). Andrew showed up to try and jump the queue. We did not have a problem with this, nor did any of the other hundred of people in line who’s friends were doing the same things. However, since we were at the front of the line, and because Andrew has that shifty look about him (just kidding, Galoo!), a security fellow told him he couldn’t cut. WHAT? Andrew was sent away and we never saw him again.

At 2:45, they began to let people in for the show. It was around that time that I noticed a small gathering of people on the other side of the door. Who are they, I wondered? Well, Sherrard told me. They are people who paid EXTRA for their tickets in order to receive VIP bands that allow them to get into places FIRST, regardless of how many people are in the proletariat’s line. Ah. I see. Bumbershoot is REALLY sticking with the original “music for the people” concept, aren’t they? AAAAARG. Anyway, the special people went in and we filed in after. We still got fairly decent seats, however.

The first comic who came on did not identify himself. It’s ok. He was occasionally funny and mentioned about 100 times that he was from New York. Isn’t it funny how different New York is from other parts of the country? Like, say, Seattle? That guy thought so.

Next up was Paul Gillmartin, who is none other than the Paul of Dinner and a Movie with Paul and Anabell. Yes, he is a twat on that show. Here, he was pretty funny. He did a character (Who’s name…guess what…escapes me), in which he was a Republican representative on a tour of liberal events to field questions. At first, I thought he would be taking questions from plants in the audience, but after a few questions, I realized that these were real questions from well-informed, liberal Seattle-ites, and he was giving off-the-cuff, conservative prick answers like “George Bush doesn’t hate black people. He just doesn’t think about them” and “the reason we care more about fetuses than babies that are already born is because we don’t know whether or not they’re gay yet”. I liked him. But, the whole show being only an hour long, I was eager for him to get off the stage to allow for more Patton time.

Patton. Was. Amazing. He did a few of the jokes from his album, but he always does some new stuff and he always treats each individual audience as, well, an individual audience. He also said he LOVED Seattle audiences because they’re the only ones in which every single person actually gets his jokes. He said Seattle is a beautiful city made of “unicorn tears”. He said that because of this he needed to prepare himself for touring in places like Idaho, so handed out some cards with some heckles on them and had people read the heckles after he finished a joke. Good stuff.

You know, comedy is such a BROAD subject. It doesn’t seem right that someone like Dave Coulier or Ray Romano can be considered a comic because that puts him and Patton in the same field. And they SO aren’t. Patton is more like a liberal unifier with some jokes. When I see him, I feel better about the world. If someone with those ideas can be put in a position to speak to large audiences, and maybe just one little girl or boy in Indiana or somewhere will see him and change their minds about Bush, we just might be ok. After his set, the audience gave him a very earnest standing ovation, and he thanked us profusely and humbly left the stage.

I felt pretty good after that, but I wanted to try and stick around for Eugene Mirman who was up next. For some stupid reason, they required everyone to evacuate the theatre before bringing in the next group of people. Obviously, if I went back outside and got in line, there is no way I would have gotten back in. So we tried something I’d done successfully a few years back. We hung around the bathrooms, pretending to be waiting for someone. It didn’t work this time. The big beefy security guys said that EVERYONE had to leave the theatre. OoooooK. What’s with the tight security? Just as we were giving up on the dillydally, Eugene Mirman walked RIGHT past us. I froze, trying to think of some reason to get his attention. I had nothing and he was gone before I knew it. Oh well. We lost Ben to his other friends and stood around in a daze for a while.

Finally, we decided to kill some time in the beer garden before Okkervil River. Mmmmm. $5 MGD. $6 Mike’s Hard Lemonades. They taste so much better than the reasonably priced versions. After a while, Sherrard noticed Ahe and her friends on the other side of the garden. We stared at her for several minutes attempting to get her attention but it wasn’t working. Finally, I decided to play “creepy stalker” and call her on her cell phone. I told her “I’m looking right at you,” in my best lecher voice. It would have worked better if cell phones didn’t have caller I.D. Eventually, she saw us and headed over. Our group of 15 corralled in the middle of the garden until a table opened up. One of Ahe’s friends was a PERFECT gentleman and insisted that I take his seat because he couldn’t let a lady stand. How often does THAT happen from a young male? Like…never. Unless it’s Dom. And he HAS to do that or else he’ll look bad. This was a guy I just met and it left quite an impression. Thanks, guy. I do wish I could remember names. Eventually, Team Ahe declared that they were tired of Bumbershoot, and headed off back to the Hill. Team Brugos sat in the empty chairs for a while and then it was time for the parting of ways. They were off to see some One Reel (fuckers) short films, and we were to take in some Okkervil River. On our way out of the beer garden, we passed…EUGENE MIRMAN, who was smoking and talking to some people. We paused for a bit but I could still think of nothing to say other than “Hey man, you’re jokes make me feel good inside” and so we departed.

Two songs into the Okkervil River set, we realized that they were drunk and definitely did NOT give a fuck. They were speeding and sassing through their set and, as Sherrard noted, playing their songs in album order. If they didn’t give a fuck, neither did we. Fuck you, Bumbershoot. Mostly. Sherrard is going to email Patton and request that if he comes back to Bumershoot next year, he should also play a venue outside of the ‘Shoot so that his fans don’t have to be subject to metaphorical sodomy just to see him. I hope it works.

We opted, instead, to buy Sherrard a birthday dinner at the best little Pho house in Seattle. After Pho, we pushed it a little too far by getting a drink at the Jade Pagoda, when really, we should have all just gone home and slept. This was confirmed the next day when I realized that I’d left my tab open at the bar when we left. As drunk as I get, I’ve NEVER done that before. And this time, I’d only had ONE drink. That’s how mentally exhausting this weekend was. But fun. Definitely fun.

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