Tag Archives: the decemberists

What Your Favorite #Instagram #Filter Says About You

Normal — You’re an actual photographer. Just kidding. You actual have #NoFilter, brah.

Amaro — Your nostalgia is European, a supercool pretentiousness that’s incomparably aloof, just like that great regard you hold for places that you’ve never been.

Mayfair — You like it when people consider you an artist, and lucky for you, you’re smart enough to realize that a little added shadow and saturation looks dramatic enough to half-do the job for you.

Rise — You refuse to believe that any good music has been released since 1978, even though you yourself weren’t born until 1987.

Hudson — You’re self-conscious because you’re worried that your friends are going to figure out that all you do is use the Mayfair filter, so you feel the need to switch it up.

Valencia — You own a different flannel shirt for ever hair in your beard, which is one for every song ever written by the Decemberists.

X-Pro II — You listened to more rap metal growing up than you’re comfortable admitting, which is why you’re still a sucker for anything with a totally awesome “X-” in front of it.

Sierra — You have a dog, or some other pet that you won’t stop taking photos of.

Willow — You feel like you’re supposed to be using Instagram for things but you’re too self-conscious and afraid that you’re not doing something right simply because you don’t “get it,” so you default to black-and-white so you feel like you’re doing something (even though you’re not).

Lo-Fi — Garage rock bands and the Elephant Six Collective were just as good to you in art school as they are today.

Earlybird — You’ve lived your entire life basking in sun-soaked sepia, and you wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sutro — You care less about pictures and more about telling the world about the totally cool concert / restaurant / tourist trap vacation spot you’re currently at.

Toaster — You’re a Cylon.

Brannan — You’re a challenge-seeker, always looking for something new, so congratulations, you got this far in the filter list, instead of settling for the moderately-less-shadowed Mayfair. So maybe you’re a little darker, too.

Inkwell — You’re trying even harder than that Willow guy to figure what the hell this whole Instagram thing is supposed to be about, so you dig deeper into the filter list, hoping that later filters are cool like deep album cuts.

Walden — You still quote Transcendentalists in your Facebook profile.

Hefe — You’re the boss. Of Instagram, anyway.

Nashville — You’ve never been down South, and you’ve never owned a Polaroid camera, but you think it’s cool when other people have.

1977 — You don’t even care that punk’s not dead, you just want find a filter that no one else is gonna use ’cause you don’t wanna be like all them other poseurs.

Kelvin — You’re rough around the edges, enough that you probably do things like write lists of What Your Favorite Instagram Filter Says About You when you’re not already busy bitching about Thought Catalog.

The Stage or the Curtain

2 years ago, I lost my oldest friend. I had gone back to my hometown to attend our Boy Scout troop’s 50th Anniversary Celebration. I was a pretty terrible Boy Scout (I collected all of the arts merit badges — and plumbing, ’cause it was funny), but Mike was one of the people that I was most looking forward to seeing. Sure, we both had our own separate lives now, but he was always like family to me. Plus, I was really looking forward to teasing him for getting poison ivy on his balls at Camp Sequassen, because let’s face it, that was pretty hilarious.

Mike never made it to the party. Only a few of us knew why.

His wake saw over 500 people descend upon our suburban Connecticut town. It was an incredible outpouring of love and support; in a way, that made it worse. Maybe if Mike had seen the amount of people who turned, the number of lives he’d touched — maybe he wouldn’t have thought of his own life as being so expendable.

Maybe. Maybe not.

At the reception following his funeral, a few of Mike’s friends put together a slideshow with memories of him. These were friends that Mike had made in more recent years, especially at college, and most of them had never met his family until that week. The slideshow concluded with a video of Mike performing The Decemberists’ “I Was Meant For the Stage” at an Open Mic night. I had forgotten that he had finally stepped out from the backstage of the theatre and began performing (I think we scarred him in 7th grade during the filming of our home movie sequel to The Story of Rikki-Oh).

If I have ever seen a ghost, it was in that video. I still remember the exact moment during the song that Mike’s mother lost it, when he sang “Mother, please be proud / Father, be forgiving / even though you told me / ‘Son, you’ll never make a living.” I don’t know how much Mike’s college friends knew about his life in high school, but the song choice was frighteningly poetic; my mother even thought it was an original, autobiographical song that Mike had written himself.

That night, I followed the funeral crowd to Mike’s favorite Thursday Karaoke bar, and sang in his memory. It was strange, seeing all of these people with so much love for my friend — and not knowing who any of them were. That’s just the nature of things, I suppose, as we can go on to new places and start different lives. I listen to his friends share memories and stories, and I wish I could chime in or relate, but again, it was a different life for me. Still, it always comforted to know that he had continued to grow as a person, but never really changed at the heart of himself.

Each year, around this time, I try to make my way back to Hamden; there’s always a walk, or a fundraiser, some event in his memory. Everyone else — the friends I met at the services, extended family — they sit together, laughing and chatting and sharing stories. I feel bad inserting myself into their world — I don’t mean to rob their grief for myself, nor do I mean to intrude on their celebration. I know sometimes they wonder who I am, what my connection to their cause is. If they’d ever ask, I’d tell them, don’t mind me; I’m just here for Mike.