DBT (Doin' Big Things) Or Die

DBT (Doin' Big Things) Or Die

Good evening once again, ladies and gentlemen. Hope you enjoyed last week’s little diversion from the norm to bring you some tasty snippets of my food experience here in DC. And if you didn’t, oh well… looks like I’ll be getting back to the basics this week anyways. Yes, that’s correct, this week we’ll be getting back to the “choose-three-things-and-describe-how-some-song-fits-with-it” mold. This is both welcomed from my end (because I want to save the rest of my food experiences for one last food hurrah coming in the next couple weeks) and allows me to get back to one of the things that I love the most: music. The good news is that I know of three perfect places (all of which you should surely check out if you happen to find your way into DC). The bad news is that I’m totally going to have to wing which songs fit with them, along with the reasoning... Who knows, this could end in a glorious success on my end. But then again, it could also end in an abysmal failure as well. I’ll let you all decide.

Our starting point for this week’s adventure lies in a wonderful experience I had a couple weeks ago at the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial and the Thomas Jefferson Memorial after it. Coming in at the height of the famed Cherry Blossom Festival, my TWC class decided to meet at the FDR Memorial to do some group pondering, discussion, and, of course, to simply see the sights of DC (both of which, up until that point, I had not seen yet). However, before some classmates and I could meet up with everyone else at the FDR Memorial we took a little detour. An unfortunate Google Maps mistake had led us to the Washington Nationals baseball stadium, informing us that the memorial was right off of the waterfront near the Navy Yard. After much cursing at the heavens, and a quick circle around the stadium to make sure we were in the wrong place, we dipped our heads in defeat and reconvened on the Metro to head towards the real FDR Memorial.



Band of Horses' "No One's Gonna Love You" vs. FDR and Jefferson Memorials

Cherry Blossom

This is where the actual adventure begins folks. Therefore due to the nature of the events preceding the extraordinary time at the FDR and Jefferson Memorials, I’ve come to the conclusion that “No One’s Gonna Love You” by the Band of Horses best fits the situation. Now I know what you’re thinking. “Dan, you already did a Band of Horses song in a previous posting.” Well, lucky for you, the avid reader, I’ve chosen a different song. Plus, the Band of Horses is a great band (with a great band name might I add) and fully deserves a repeat performance on my blogosphere. Something about the entire experience at both the FDR Memorial and the Jefferson Memorial was calming, yet slightly unnerving, giving you that sense of being lost. Not in a bad way however, in a good way: an explorative kind of way. This is not unlike how the music of the Band of Horses makes me, personally, feel. I feel calmed, yet get lost in the droning melodies, eerie vocals, and trailing chords. It’s great music for a road trip, walking trip, whatever trip and I highly recommend any of their works for any type of mild-mannered adventure that you might embark upon.

Overall, the evening spent at both memorials was a beautiful one. The Sun hung low in the sky, slightly adding an orange hue to the normally-pink of the Cherry Blossoms. The stone of the FDR Memorial had a slight glow to it from the sunlight, creating a slightly eerie aura around each of the representative statues. But it wasn’t just the lighting that made the FDR Memorial special. The nature of the monument itself is unlike any of the others in DC. Rather than have a towering edifice, the FDR Memorial takes a more subtle approach. Instead, it has a series of alcoves that wind around a shaded parkway, each one signifying a term of President Roosevelt. Each of these little alcoves had its own unique statues devoted to each term of the president and references to different actions that he took during each of said terms. Now I won’t go into nauseating detail about each of the statues and what each of them represents for fear of spoiling some of the experience, but I can say that they came up with some creative stuff there to mark the legacy of FDR. To top it all off, each section has a small water feature, be it a small pool, a small fountain, waterfall, etc. which helps add some peaceful ambiance to the general surroundings.

FDR Memorial

This is where the Band of Horses comes in. Just as “No One’s Gonna Love You” begins, the general atmosphere has a breezy, yet slightly somber note to it. This isn’t to say that the memorial is a sad place, quite the opposite, but the simple nature of everything involved in it lends a quiet eeriness to it that allows you to fully soak in the wonderful design of it all. Furthermore, just as the song picks up in tone and tempo, you (as a visitor to the memorial) are left with more and more upbeat phrases and quotes of FDR designed to leave you with a nobler, more human interpretation of the famed president.

TJ Memorial

This then transitions wonderfully to the Jefferson Memorial, which really doesn’t need much explanation other than it is grand and it is impressive. In a similar vein to the more cheery, airy tempo and tune of the end of “No One’s Gonna Love You,” the Jefferson Memorial presents a grand and uplifting structure designed to impress you. Not to mention the entire experience was accentuated by the Sun setting as we arrived at the monument. The overall scene of the DC skyline, paired with the pretty colors of the cherry blossoms and peaked by the massive statue of Jefferson created an awe-inducing experience for me; peaking perfectly with the echoing, ghost-like vocals of the Band of Horses “No One’s Gonna Love You.” Looking back on it, I wish I would’ve had that song to play at the exact moment that we all looked out over the basin. It would’ve made a perfectly serene moment. Even the memory of it now, paired with some Band of Horses tunage in the background makes me feel a bit calmer, a bit more relaxed; helps me appreciate my experience (and the surroundings) of my time at the FDR and Jefferson memorials.



Farwell Fighter's "Terminal" vs. Team Building Exercise '11


How something a little more lively and exciting? Well, that surely fits the description of the next set of events that transpired. A little more than a week ago, the staff was surprised on a Friday to the treat of a staff, team-building day for the following Monday. No one knew what it was about, but we all had our guesses. Little did I know what I was getting myself into.

We were instructed to wear workout clothes to work on Monday, anticipating a day spent outside. Well, on that fateful Monday, the sky was as blue as ever, the Sun was bursting, and the temperature was around a welcomed 75 degrees or so. I was thoroughly excited to be outside, but still had no clue what to expect from our little team building exercise. Let me preclude this little number by saying that I am not the most flexible of people, but that didn’t keep me from trying most everything that they would throw at me that day. As it turns out, our staff activity for the day was to go to team yoga out on the National Mall by the World War II Memorial in an area called Constitutional Gardens. We even got our own mats with the Trust logo in large print on them. But, before I get into the hilarity of me trying to do yoga, let me first offer up my musical choice for this day. Seeing as the day was bright and sunny, lending towards an airy and fun mood, I’ve decided to choose a song that does much the same. This is why “Terminal” by Farwell Fighter sits above this text on your computer screen. It may be a little poppy for some. Many will probably complain about it (*cough Tyl0r, Ginzo, and Adam *cough), but really I don’t care if you approve or not because in the end the song is supposed to fit the mood, and nothing quite sums up the cheery, bubblegum atmosphere of that day quite better than Farewell Fighter.

Gardens 2

Alright enough lollygagging, time to get down to business. So yoga… right? After a couple hours of work to get everything done before we headed out for the day, we took our meandering stroll down past the White House, past the Washington Monument, and over into Constitutional Gardens where we were met by our private yoga instructor right out in front of the pond. When I say it was nice out, I really mean it was nice out (I even got a fair amount of sunburn from our time outside). However, the yoga is where the difficulty started. Let me also preface my further descriptions by saying that I honestly tried to contort my body into some of the more complex moves they had us doing, but my favorite parts were easily the relaxation parts. At times I felt silly. At times I thought maybe there was more flexibility than I had previously anticipated, and still, yet other times I was on the verge of plummeting flat on my face from a complete lack of balance. I think, in the end though, that it was a valuable experience for one simple fact: by the time I was finished, it felt like I had lifted a massive set of weights off of my body. I felt so at ease, so upbeat, so… not what I’m used to feeling.


Cue in the Farewell Fighter. As many of you who personally know me are probably already aware of, I enjoy myself some pop rock at times. Call it a nod to the past, when in high school I couldn’t get enough of it. Call it a guilty pleasure. Call it an obsession, it doesn’t matter. Something about the genre just helps to put me in a good mood, no matter what life might throw at me. Well, Farwell Fighter happens to be one of the better examples of honest-to-goodness pop rock/pop-punk that I’ve heard in a while. It’s got the catchy hooks, the simple, yet infectious guitar lines, and enough lyricism thrown in to give some actual meaning to most of the songs. But most importantly, Farwell Fighter reminds you of those warm, summer days in high school when you had nothing better to do but drive around, listen to music, and simply kick back (days I’m slowly starting to miss more and more). It’s that last reason that made Farewell Fighter’s “Terminal” the optimal choice for such a bright and sunny day. For a short couple of hours I was able to forget all the problems of the real world and simply enjoy being outside, mingling with coworkers outside of the stress-filled office environment, and taking in some new (albeit somewhat difficult) experiences. I’d say that the whole “team-building” day was an outstanding success, even if the yoga proved somewhat difficult for me to grasp. But rest assured it did what it needed to do: to relieve some well-impacted stress and tightness that had accumulated over the course of my intern experience.



Dr. House's "After You've Gone" vs. The National Portrait Gallery


I don’t know about you folks, but it seems that the last two experiences I’ve explained have a little too much “inspirational optimism” in them… they just seem a little campy. In wake of this, I’m going to completely blow your mind and totally switch it up on this one. That’s not to say that this next experience was not a good one, but I feel I need to take a little bit of a goofy edge to it in order to keep all of you from inexplicably becoming sky-fearing, poetic ultra-optimists. So heed my warning readers of the blogosphere: this next section might be a little “tongue-in-cheek,” but it’s totally meant to flow that way. Prepare yourselves bro-dudes and bro-ladies.

My last, but surely not the least, experience that I feel like explaining to you guys this week takes us all the way to the heart of the near-near east. I’m talking about Chinatown of course, and in case you didn’t know where I’m going to go with this… it’s the National Portrait Gallery you impatient little rapscallions. In a complete moment of seriousness (like… seriously bro), the National Portrait Gallery was actually a really cool place. But, it would be hard to describe it without falling into the cliché trappings about how the art in the museum is reflective of the “art” in the song that I chose. Therefore I’ve chosen a random song to add to your random interpretation of what the National Portrait Gallery has to offer.


Cue in Dr. House. Yes, I said Dr. House. Recently Dr. House (Hugh Laurie) has put out a physical CD of him singing. Yes, Hugh Laurie singing. What does he sing you ask? Well it’s a mixture of blues, jazz, and that insatiable House swagger that just screams “super-smart, asshole-doctor.” It’s safe to say that it’s actually not bad, but alas I can’t help put picture Dr. House with his cane yelling at the likes of Chase, Forman, Cuddy and the rest of the gang, only to retreat to his office, pop some Vicodin (yes, if you haven’t seen the show, he’s a Vicodin addict) and belt out numbers like this one as he begins to float across the surface of the Sun. But how does it relate to the experience at the National Portrait Gallery you retort?

Well, it fits perfectly. For one: it’s pretentious, it’s sappy, and it’s loaded with emotion, much similar to how many of the artists who did the portraits were, as I would naturally assume, pretentious, sappy, and loaded to the brim with unnecessary emotion. Also, while I truly did enjoy the National Portrait Gallery, I couldn’t see myself spending a whole day in there without going completely insane. The gallery is best experienced in controlled doses. Similarly, the swooning croons of Dr. House are enjoyable for about five to ten minutes, and then they just get boring and dull. Dr. House also has no control over “dosage” when it comes to his pill-popping-animal ways with Vicodin. Wow, bet you’re surprised I’ve gotten this far with this little number aren’t you?

Modern Art

Continually, just as Dr. House drops the ball on some of the songs in his absolutely ridiculous, lulz-inducing album; so too, many of the artists’ paintings in the portrait gallery completely miss the mark (I’m looking at you modern art section). This is to say that from time to time, you (the viewer/listener) find yourself thinking: “Hey, I could have done this better,” which is totally the case with some of Dr. House’s bluesy babblings, and certainly is the case with some of the art in the National Portrait Gallery (I’m looking at you again modern art exhibit). Therefore, Dr. House, you are not unlike your fellow artists displayed in the National Portrait Gallery: slightly overrated, enjoyable in small amounts, and totally insane when treated to a prolonged exposure. Congratulations Dr. House… you’ve officially been compared to “real” artists.




Image Sources:

Constitutional Gardens: http://www.traveladventures.org/continents/northamerica/images/washington-monument02.jpg

Constitutional Gardens 2: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/archive/a/a7/20090629073834!Constitution_Gardens_-_Washington,_D.C..jpg

Outdoor Yoga: http://sbubasement.files.wordpress.com/2010/05/outdoor_yoga_2.jpg

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