Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Combatting the February Blues.

Days are dark here in slushy Manhattan, dear Reader, & while I will be the first to call (at least partial) bullshit on any diagnosis of Seasonal Affective Disorder (WE ALL HAVE IT), I will also be even before the first—that annoying, clamoring olde-tyme reporter with the flashbulb camera & the card in her fedora who simply will not get out of your face—when it comes to decrying the February Blues. Indeed, I've put together something of a spiel over the years, & it goes a little something like this:

In the beginning, of course, there is January—but not even January-proper. No, every year begins with what I like to call "Trailer January": a Coming Attractions of optimism & accomplishment, a montage of a year that can't not contain the magical fulfillment of your every goal, accompanied, perhaps, by a power ballad or 5. But slowly over that first week, the champagne buzz begins to fade, & you realize that actually sticking to the now-insane-seeming loftiness of your resolutions means, well, actually sticking to it—which, as any human with cognitive ability well knows, is nigh impossible.

So, every time you "forget" to go to the gym or read a book or update your blog, you necessarily feel a pang of guilt—but, rather than direct that frustration inwards, you start to blame it on subarctic temperatures & severe lack of sun. All of your personal shortcomings become the weather's shortcomings: if it were only a few degrees warmer out, you cry, fist shaking at an overcast sky, everything would be better! I could walk those ten blocks to my Astronomy lecture! I could translate the Aeneid into Dutch! I'd find Wonder Woman's invisible plane, goddammit! Once Winter & Failure are so intertwined, the desire to Get the Fuck Out becomes more than just a temperature imperative: it's the quest for life itself—&, wouldn't you know, standing like a giant, inert moose on the highway of your indubitable progress is February, that utterly useless blob of 28 days between you & your freedom from icy catatonia.

Meanwhile, just to fuck with you, February brings fun surprises, like Greeting Card Companies' Valentine's Day, which is situated right smack dab in its middle, providing that one final solar-plexus punch as you're going down, down, down the slope to spring. As we are all no doubt aware, February the 14th is a day of incorrigible evil, forecasting either stress (to impress a loved one) or melancholy (for a lack of someone to stress over), both of which imply too much money spent on too much sugar, & inevitably leave the Valentined in a wake of guilt & headaches & wilting rose petals. Also, what cocky motherfucker of a month gives itself an extra day every four years? Rude, I say. Rude.

My point is: FEBRUARY IS DEEPLY AWFUL, & you have to catch any & all bright spots as catch can—find the diamonds in the rough, to crib from The Cave of Wonders (who, let's get real, is my barometer for all that is good & true).

For example, if you find yourself desperately hacking away at Insomnia with mind-numbing episodes of shows you don't watch anymore (because they've gotten just untenably bad), & still sleep isn't coming, & why do you even bother at this point—you may just find that, lo & behold, here's your very favorite Zombies song "She's Not There" AS PERFORMED BY ACTUAL ZOMBIES.

Excellences upon excellences, indeed. Well done, Glee. I officially return to you exactly 1.5 of the 8,579 kudos I retracted after that Rocky Horror Disasterthon.

Having witnessed me forgive the dreadful Glee this minutest of fractions, you, my canniest Reader, may be wondering if February doesn't deserve some of this clemency—perhaps a reasoned re-viewing through rosy lenses? It's just a month after all—it can't help itself; oughtn't we put aside our past differences & look for the bright spots within February itself?

To which I will answer, emphatically, no, & find the nearest door such that I may slam it in your general direction.

February is simply & profoundly the Worst.

End scene.

Today's Headphone Fodder:

I've never been a huge fan of Muse—if only because I don't know them too well & haven't yet taken the requisite time to explore—but Absolution is one of the albums with which I have passing familiarity, & "Time Is Running Out" has always been one of the songs I liked. That said, I really don't think even a passing familiarity with the original is required to appreciate this truly fantastic string quartet arrangement—dynamic, creative, full of builds & careful interplays, wheedling along the razor's edge of melodies the rock song simply can't quite pluck out. Really, really lovely.

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