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.

Rite Aid Rocks

I just went to Rite Aid to buy some mailing envelopes and lo and behold, I came accross this bustier accent lamp (the item on the left, of course):

It was the last of its kind, came in white and it was on sale for $10, marked down from $15. I carried it around the store for a long while debating whether or not I would ultimately purchase it. I am trying to stop buying things I don't need as my apartment already looks vaguely chaotic. I certainly don't NEED another lamp. I barely have enough outlets for the lamps I currently own. My apartment is lit well enough so I couldn't justify a functionality argument.

And then it hit me. I'm supposed to be collecting items with which to brothell (as opposed to pimp) Brugos' basement. This lamp would be perfect for this purpose. So that's how I justified buying it. The checker, a girl with short black hair who was basically me four years ago, was very jealous and said that had she known they were selling these, she would have snatched it up herself.

And since Brugos still doesn't have a Christmas Tree, perhaps for now, I can put it on a stool and put presents under it.

4200 Godzilla Plaza

I pilfered this link from Kevin Church. If any culture would be able to find the hilarious brilliance in a building shaped like a creature that has threatened their capitol in film for years, it would be the Japanese.

Ode to my sandwich

If it's possible to be in love with food, than I'm in love with the Starbucks Eggs Florentine breakfast sandwich. I have been for quite some time now. Not many people understood our love, including the employees of Starbucks. “Why don't you try the Black Forest Ham?” they would say. “The Turkey is really good too.” “I'm a vegetarian,” I would inevitably reply. This may sound like our love was forced out of necessity. But this is not so. True, it was always my only sandwich option. But I have always been fond of spinach, eggs and cheese. And the Starbucks Eggs Florentine sandwich brings these ingredients together in a magical way that I have not been able to find anywhere else.

My heart was broken the day that e-coli was found in local spinach. Madness flooded the populace and people eliminated spinach from their menus. My beloved sandwich was among the casualties, quarantined for months for, what seemed to me, a somewhat reactionary measure.

After spinach began popping up again, I checked back in with Starbucks. Had my love returned? What I found instead was a new face. The Sun-Dried Tomato sandwich stared at me from the glass case with cold eyes and said “Hello, I am the very played-out Sun-Dried Tomato. I am the vegetarian option from people who think they are being clever.” “Where is my spinach?!” I pleaded with the Starbucks employee. “Isn't this e-coli madness over yet?!” And then I received the horrible news. “We're phasing out the spinach,” he said, with not a hint of remorse. “But you should try the Sun-Dried Tomato. It's much better.” I was devastated and, in my grief, I rebounded with the Sun-Dried tomato. Every bite was stale and unsatisfying. The experience left me feeling cold and empty. But what was I to do? My sandwich was gone. I had to move on.

After an exhaustive search for an adequate substitute (including trying the Seattle's Best spinach sandwich, which proved far worse than the Sun-Dried Tomato), I eventually found an acceptable replacement. A small cafe a block from my office served a tasty egg and cheese. There was no spinach. In fact, there were no vegetable options at all. But it was good enough to keep me happy. This would do. I could get on with my life.

And then it happened. Today, I went into a Starbucks to grab a Gingerbread Latte. Indeed, it was the same Starbucks in which I had received the horrible news months before. As I waited in line, I glanced into the glass case and…saw IT! My sandwich! But was it too good to be true?! During the e-coli scare, they kept the Florentine model in the case as a cruel reminder of what I could not have. But it wouldn't hurt to ask. So I did. “Do you guys have the spinach?” I timidly inquired. The employee looked at me like I was crazy for asking. “Of course we do. I mean, I think. Let me check.” And she opened the fridge and pulled one out!!! On the surface, I was calm and collected as I handed her my debit card. But inside, my heart was doing somersaults.

And here, at my desk, after months of separation, I bit into the warm, gooey goodness of Havarti, egg and spinach and once again, everything was right with the world.

I love you, Sandwich. Don't ever leave me again.

Look at my pictures, damnit!

My lovely Thanksgiving (vegetarian) mince pie.

The Fun Forest (Featuring a giant cup of nacho cheese and some pretty strange rules for riding the rides.)

Mustache Bash. (Featuring Ben's white elephant gift: the Unauthorized Biography of Vanilla Ice.)

And finally… A hilarious series of pictures featuring Tobe with a giant ball of fur sticking out of his mouth!