Taylor's early work was a little too country for my taste, but when Fearless came out in 2008, I think she really came into her own - both commercially and artistically. The whole album has a clear, crisp sound, and a new sheen of consummate professionalism that really gives the songs a big boost. She's been compared to Adele, but I think Taylor has a far more optimistic, charming sense of humour. In 2010, Taylor released this, Speak Now, her most accomplished album. I think her undisputed masterpiece is 'Mean', a song so catchy most people probably don't listen to the lyrics - but they should! Because it's not just about the pleasures of standing up for yourself, and the importance of independence, it's also a personal statement about Taylor herself!
Pictured here is Taylor Swift - Mean. Try getting a reservation at Olive Garden now!!!!!!
A very common complaint about Taylor's work is that it's anti-feminist, or that she props up the status quo of the patriarchy - specifically, the belief that a woman needs a man to be happy or complete. This work in particular is often cited as an example.
"Romeo, take me somewhere we can be alone.
I'll be waiting; all that's left to do is run.
You'll be the prince and I'll be the princess"
The complaint is a valid one, but the song should be examined in context. It's not about a grown woman's healthy, mature relationship with a man. Romeo and Juliet are the quintessential doomed young lovers, and in the original play, Juliet is 13. These lyrics read exactly like the thought process of a thirteen year old: optimistic to the point of naivete. It also features an ending that's storybook-ish to the point of being a non sequitur.
Pictured here is Taylor Swift - Love Story. You were Whole Wheat Lingune, I was a scarlet sauce...
In Picture to Burn, Taylor showcases her mastery of the rollicking, slick sound of a genre that she, if not invented, cemented the framework of: pop-country. Her twang is inexperienced and affected, but this is easy to overlook given the pure Fun of this track. Not since the Dixie Chicks has virtuosic banjo playing entered the Top 40, and even if this song wasn't a perfect monument to the 'Don't Need You Anymore Anyway!' subset of breakup songs, that would be reason enough to keep it on your playlist.
Pictured here is Taylor Swift - Picture to Burn, and I eagerly await the day when I can sing this song to my album of 200 pictures of Italian Sausage-topped dishes.
Almost all of Taylor's songs are about love, but this one isn't romantic - it's the love and appreciation between a mother and daughter. In it, Taylor paints a lifelong portrait of her relationship with her mom, in which she continually supports Taylor through every tribulation in her young life. I don't have anything funny or insightful to say about this song - it's just Taylor doing what she does best: writing a simple, beautiful, and honest song about someone that means a lot to her.
Pictured here is Taylor Swift - The Best Day, and any day with Roasted Mushroom Sauce is the Best Day for me.
The sickness is beginning to subside. I'm definitely not up to 100%, but I can do things other than feel pain and complain to other people about it, and that's a great start.
I did end up seeing what I thought would be a helpful person - a licensed physician. Turns out he was a total quack. Allow me to share the story with you, though you might want to be sitting down for this one, especially if you are susceptible to secondhand indignation.
So I explain to the doctor my symptoms, and he asks a number of, frankly, very personal and inappropriate questions about my health, my lifestyle choices, and my diet. Seriously, I don't see how often I go to the bathroom is anyone's business but my own - perv much? Anyway. When I mention the Olive Garden thing, he bristles. Apparently he thought I was joking. I tried to set him straight:
"No. I'm serious. I'm going to eat all the pasta. I'm halfway done now."
"You can't do that."
"Tell that to the fine people at USA Today", I said, pulling out my printed copy of the article that I show to everyone who doesn't believe in, or pretends not to care about, my blog.
"No, I mean, you can't do that. You're going to irreparably damage your blah blah blah blah..."
And he went on and on and on. This is why I don't trust so-called medical "professionals". They're more interested in their bottom line than they are in actually help people with their completely non-pasta-related health problems. Very sad.
Lunch was A Drive Through The Country.
Dinner was composed of three plates of pasta:
I've been looking into alternative medicine lately, and I think I might try some of it - look for my reviews in future blogs!
A special thanks to my dining companion, Anna, who declined to have her photo taken!
Do you remember, as a child, driving through the country and seeing for the first time two cows standing dumbly in the middle of a field of food? I'm comparing this to not only the particular aesthetic that this dish evokes, but to the overall Olive Garden experience .
Pictured here is A Drive Through The Country, and if you think about it, we're all just meatballs.
Have you ever had a meatball so big you thought "I could hide underneath that, and no one would ever find me. Then I'd really be free"? If so, you're probably running from some very deep-seated issues that really can't be solved with pasta. I suggest you seek therapy, and stop trying to find solace at the bottom of a pasta bowl. It won't be there, and besides, Olive Garden's pasta bowl is literally bottomless, so you're wasting your time.
Pictured here is Hide and Seek, but you can never hide from yourself!
The flowers are wilting and soaked, the air is cold, the floor is covered in a spicy three meat sauce. This is what autumn is all about - transition, preparation, and death. Compare eating this pasta to trudging through sloshy leaves: it's an ordeal, but an enjoyable one.
Pictured here is Rainy Autumn Day, and like its namesake, it never lasts long enough!
One of my fondest memories is walking barefoot on the rocky, sandless beaches on the coast of Washington, cutting my feet on the jagged stones while I pretended not to be in extreme pain to impress my girlfriend.
"You really should put some shoes on," she said, obviously impressed.
Pictured here is Collecting Seashells, and by the way, there were no seashells on the beach.
Long co-opted by smarmy atheists from the 1960's who based around her a parody religion that vastly predates Pastafarianism. Discordianism (worship of Eris) is more subtle and richer - much like this plate of untopped penne and alfredo.
Pictured here is Eris.
This Greek personification of pain (physical or mental) is where we get our English word "ache"! It's also what you might feel after the sodium from the Italian Sausage works its magic on your digestive tract.
Pictured here is Achos, and maybe the german annoyed grunt "ach" also has something to do with that.