I Missed Emo Entirely Somehow

Tonight I attended a local vinyl night. Cafe, records spinning, etc. It was emo-themed. I was informed by an educated friend that emo emerged out of the hardcore scene in the 80s, but really became capital-E emo in the 2000s.

I’ve always been a music obsessive and can’t for the life of me remember what I was playing in the early 00s. Whatever it was, it wasn’t emo.

Emo makes me extremely uncomfortable, because I know it’s something I would have been super-duper emotionally into if the movement had exploded during my college years, when anything intense seemed to be Directly About My Own Personal Experience.

I have a similar discomfort with Modest Mouse, another band I straight-up missed. Some people I know have deeply personal relationships with Modest Mouse records, but since I wasn’t at that magic age when they were big, I can only imagine some alt-dimension Dennis having powerful emotive connections to their music, probably as I was unrequitedly loving someone and feeling sad about it.

Michael Stipe once noticed that most fans’ favorite R.E.M. album is the one that was released when they were high-school seniors (or college freshman). This is true for me: it’s Automatic for the People. I actually think Life’s Rich Pageant is a better album, but I love Automatic more, because it was mine.

For many people, emo was theirs. I guess I was listening to Wilco and Radiohead at the time? Some obscure non-emo indie band Pitchfork told me to like? I remember my teens and 30s very well, but my twenties are something of a haze, and not a haze I especially care to dwell upon.


Lately I’m torn between a deep need to connect with people and a deep desire to vanish. Smeared between is more accurate.

Both inclinations come from vulnerability, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, especially in the connection department. I know this but still half-want to vanish.

Apple Cobbler Is Easy

My son and I made apple cobbler tonight. Sometimes a thing is satisfying despite being laughably easy.

  1. We set the oven to 350F.
  2. We put a stick of butter in an oven-safe bowl in the oven.
  3. We peeled three apples with a dull peeler, which was both hard and unsatisfying. I made my son peel two of them because Dads pull rank sometimes.
  4. We sliced the apples into a baking dish. There was too much apple, so we took some out and chucked it outside for the squirrels.
  5. The squirrels were like, “Aw, yeah.”
  6. We mixed 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar, 1 tsp of cinnamon, and an egg together.
  7. We dumped that mixture on top of the apples.
  8. We poured the melted butter over everything.
  9. We put the dish in the oven and watched Fury Road for thirty minutes.
  10. We gave our dog a piece of venison.
  11. We ate apple cobbler.

Lumen Night

Coley and I are hosting a Lumen Night party tonight.

Lumen Night is a midwinter holiday I once invented for a story. It’s a night of companionship, lights, food & drink, and music in the dead zone of late February, when winter’s worn everybody out, spring is still a ways off, and the traditional holidays (St Valentine’s and St. Patrick’s) are underwhelming.

I recently learned about Danish hygge, a spirit of gloom-fighting coziness and connection. Firelight is important. Friends and loved-ones are essential. That’s how I always envisioned Lumen Night — as an evening of rejuvenating warmth, or as a glow against the physical and emotional dark.

So we’re having a few dozen guests tonight. We’ve deployed dozens of candles around the house. I’ve got a ten-hour playlist ready on Spotify. We have food and booze. It’s going to be good.

This year the weather is bizarrely warm and vernal; we hit 70F the last two days. But we’re expecting a cold front, with rain and maybe thunder, right when the party begins, so we’ll have a proper gloomy evening to ebulliently defy.