A little over four years ago, I sat in a Caribou Coffee at the Mall of America for a number of hours, slowly nursing what was more than likely a Mint Condition latte, and worked on one, if not two, separate things.
The first of which was an album review of The Infamous Mobb Deep—a two-disc collection that compiled (iffy at best) brand new material, as well as previously unreleased tracks and alternate mixes pulled from the recording sessions of the rap duo’s2 legendary 1995 effort, The Infamous.
The second was working on what would eventually become my column for the June issue of the Southern Minnesota Scene magazine.
April of 2014 was a different time—this was before I worked at the bookstore, and before I wrote for the newspaper; this was long before I worked at the co-op, and before I worked with shelter cats at the humane society.
Four years ago I worked as a ‘marketing assistant’ for a small, family-owned publishing company—it was a frustrating and unfulfilling job, and at this point, the company itself was on the verge of financial disaster3.
It was an 8 to 5 kind of deal, Monday through Friday, which meant I had my weekends open.
The reason I found myself at the Mall of America on this specific day, in April of 2014, sitting in one of five Caribou Coffee locations, was because my wife Wendy was meeting an old co-worker and friend of hers—this co-worker/friend and her husband had recently adopted, like, a whole gaggle of children4, and she was carting them all to the aquarium that resides on the Mall’s first level.
My wife, in order to catch up with her friend/co-worker, who she hadn’t really seen in, like, three years or so, was going to go with them.
I, in order to get out of the house during the day, so that our companion rabbits could rest, decided to tag along and would ‘get some writing done5,’ while she was otherwise engaged.
From December of 2013 until July of 2017, I wrote a monthly column entitled “The Bearded Life” for the Southern Minnesota Scene. The column, in a number of ways, could be looked at as a bit of a precursor to, or a rudimentary version of, what you are reading right now, “The Column of Disquiet.” The two share similarities, yes, but there are also some very noticeable and important differences.
While my benevolent editor (bless his heart) has tried to cap this column at roughly 5,000 words (not including footnotes,
thankfully), at the time of “The Bearded Life,” we were both working within column inches, meaning every piece was much, much shorter6 than what you see here; even as my writing progressed over my tenure with the publication, and the pieces grew a little longer, it all still had to be crammed (along side photos or artwork) on the back page of the magazine, so if I had been extra verbose for a certain month, the font would maybe be a little smaller, and the words would be set a little tighter in their columns on the page.
The other big difference is that while “The Column of Disquiet” has, for the time being anyway, turned into a place for mostly somber, reflective personal essays that are almost always too long, “The Bearded Life,” for starters, was originally supposed to be a humor column, and by mostly my own doing, every piece adhered to a theme.
The Scene had a theme each month (e.g. winter, the Academy Awards, baseball, et. al) and the articles within the publication were strongly encouraged to be based around that theme. I was told time and time again (again, bless the heart of Rich Larson) that I could stray from the theme, but maybe because I was touting myself as some kind of team player, maybe because I wanted to challenge myself, or maybe because I didn’t want my column to stick out badly on the last page—I went out of my way to write something within7 that theme. The theme of the June of 2014 issue was ‘Summertime Favorites.’
The deadline for my column was toward the end of April, so I had time—like almost three weeks, but with almost every writing assignment—even with my own music writing—I finish things up, like, way before the deadline arrives.
The April “Bearded Life” column from 2014 would have been the fifth piece I had written for the publication, and without looking back through my vast archives of clippings, it may be the first column where it became self-aware and self-referential. The intro to the piece covered the fact that I was sitting in a coffee shop at the Mall of America, waiting for my wife to finish up her visit, trying to think of what to write for the June issue of the magazine.
The self-aware nature allowed me to take the idea of the Mall of America, and ease into a series of short, nostalgic anecdotes and recollections about summer vacations (three, specifically) throughout various parts of my young life, based around visits to the Mall.
I don’t recall if I quite finished the piece, which would later be titled “Fear and Loathing at The Mall of America,” while still sitting in that Caribou Coffee, or if I just had the beginning figured out, and knew where it was going to go. I do know that, eventually, I became listless of sitting for such a long period of time, and went wandering around the Mall to fill the time until my wife was finished up with her visit. I think that our time there concluded with a trip to Urban Outfitters, where I purchased a red and blue plaid shirt that I wore quite a bit until, many years later, I ripped the sleeve on it while sitting in my cubicle at the newspaper, and Elliott Smith’s8 XO on vinyl9.
I’m fairly certain that this was the last time I subjected myself to the Mall of America for well over four years.
* * *
A little over four years ago, the first of three Earth Burger locations opened in San Antonio, Texas. According to the ‘About Us’ portion of their website, the founders of Earth Burger wanted to create one of the nation’s first plant-based drive-thru restaurants, offering what they call a tastier, healthier, and fresher alternative that also happens to be vegan.
I’m uncertain as to how my wife first heard about Earth Burger—perhaps it was through an article in an issue of VegNews—a vegan lifestyle magazine we receive, or perhaps it was simply through something she saw on social media. Toward the end of 2017, she shared with me the exciting news—an Earth Burger location was opening up in the Mall of America in ‘early 2018.’
We had made plans to go for Valentine’s Day lunch—how romantic, right? A trip to the Mall of America on a Wednesday afternoon. However, upon looking at the mall directory online, Earth Burger was still listed as ‘coming soon,’ and it was also around this time that we became moderately concerned it wasn’t going to happen at all—there was a stretch where it had been removed from the directory completely.
In May, we talked about going to celebrate my wife’s birthday—but still no Earth Burger. In July, we talked about going to celebrate my birthday—still, no Earth Burger. I would occasionally hop on Twitter and @ the restaurant, as well as the Mall, hoping to get some kind of information. Sometimes, whoever happened to be monitoring the Earth Burger Twitter account would ‘like’ my tweet, and I think once, there was a promise made that the restaurant was still ‘coming soon.’
That day—let’s call it mid-2018— finally arrived on Monday, August 13th, 2018.
* * *
25 years ago, I went to the Mall of America for the very first time. I was 10 years old, and it was our family vacation that summer.
The Mall itself had only been open for a year at this point when we made the long trek from Northwestern Illinois, up through Wisconsin, and into Minnesota, in my father’s ancient, cream colored station wagon. I’m not entirely certain why the Mall of America was picked as our vacation destination, or why it was a destination that my mother and I would return to again in both the summers of 1995 and 1997.
25 years later, I only have a few minor fragments of that first trip to the mall—a stop for a meal at a Denny’s somewhere along the way, and because I was 10 years old at the time, my penchant for straight up wildin’ out in any toy store I could stumble into as we traversed the mall. Specifically I recall purchasing an Ultraman action figure from either a Toy Works or a K.B. Toys—later, with in the next year or so, the leg would break off of it.
I have a few more memories, but still equally as fragmented, of my subsequent, family vacation-based trips to the Mall—in 1995, I was 12, so toy stores were no longer of interest, but comic book shops were, and I bought a copy of the trade paperback of The Maxx at one of them—it collected the first six issues of the series; I can recall buying a cassette copy of Pork Soda by Primus, and for some reason, the U2 album Zooropa on CD; and I remember going to the movie theatre on the fourth floor, going to see Clueless10 with my mother.
In 1997, I was on the cusp of being 14—comics were not as important to me. From this trip, I remember going to see both Face/Off11 and Men in Black at the theatre, and specifically needing to make sure that we were going to be at the Mall on Tuesday, July 2nd, so I could run into a Sam Goody and purchase a copy of OK Computer on the day of its release. I also remember buying a Reservoir Dogs-themed novelty t-shirt; it featured the cast of the film imposed on squares akin to that from “The Brady Bunch.” In the center square, in a “Brady”-esque font, it read, “The Reservoir Bunch.”
Less than a decade later, after high school and college, I moved to Minnesota, and Wendy and I—I stop short of saying that we regularly went to the Mall, but we went there with a frequency that I have a hard time fathoming now. Most of the time, we would meet a friend there—Carrie—who lived in Minneapolis, and we looked at the Mall as a halfway point to meet for dinner, or to wander around aimlessly on a Saturday afternoon, spending money on stuff that I didn’t really need to buy, but did anyway.
I can’t quite pinpoint when my feelings about going to the Mall of America began to shift—where it would become the kind of place that I would actively avoid going for over four years. I don’t think there was like an “Alright! That’s it! I’ve had it with this place!” kind of moment, but it became a place that, as I exited my 20s and entered my 30s, seemed exponentially less and less appealing—the lack of fresh air, and air circulation; the infinite drudging in one, large circle, shuffling behind a huge mass of people walking slower than the director’s cut of a foreign documentary about molasses rolling up a hill; the long lines everywhere you turned and the questionable cleanliness of the bathrooms; the ease with which one gets turned around or lost; the traffic on the roads outside of the mall and in the parking garages; the lack of diversity among the stores—I mean, there’s a Claire’s Boutique on every floor, and at least two Lids hat stores on the same floor; the guilt one feels at the mere thought of spending money; and the fact that, due to the cavernous nature of the Mall, every hallway is like an echo chamber—you can hear the endless, cacophonic reverberations of all the voice around you, but you can barely hear the person you are walking next to.
Or, simply, the absolutely crushing feeling of emptiness that comes from the mall—the Mall of America, or otherwise—has just become too much.
As I changed, the Mall, too, changed—in fact, it’s almost always changing. Stores open and stores close; stores move locations; portions of the Mall are added onto or renovated; hotels are built in areas outside the mall. The toy stores I frantically ran around in as a 10 year old—those are long, long gone now. The comic book shops that I paced the racks of as a 12 year old—also gone. Relics of the past.
The Sam Goody I tore through in order to get my hands on a copy of OK Computer? There are no record stores in the Mall of America. The Barnes and Noble housed on a corner on the first floor has a paltry at best section for music, and, of course, there’s always Urban Outfitters. For a number of years, the successor to Musicland and Sam Goody—F.Y.E (For Your Entertainment)—was located on the third floor of the Mall. That, like so many other storefronts, has changed hands. It’s some kind of fancy looking Mexican restaurant now.
The Ruby Tuesday restaurant located near an escalator (and one of five Caribou Coffee locations) on the second floor? It’s been replaced with a Mark Wahlberg themed burger restaurant—a place where there are televisions plastered on every wall, each of them showing either a movie starring Mark Wahlberg, or an interview featuring Mark Wahlberg.
But, even with all this perpetual change, there are things that survive—like the cheese stand, located in a non-descript stretch of the third floor; or the Wedding Chapel.
Or Hot Topic.
* * *
There’s a place in all of these where everything is supposed to converge.
It’s usually around this point, give or take, when I hit well over 2,000 words, and enough sections are separated by those three asterisks, where I can slowly, over the course of, like, the next 2 or 3,000 words, depending how stupidly verbose I’m feeling, begin connecting all of the ideas together.
The way many of these “Columns of Disquiet” work is that they start out about one thing, but then they wind up being about something else, or, in the process of writing, I wind up going somewhere I wasn’t expecting, and it’s my job to then figure out how everything is supposed to converge—e.g., I hadn’t originally intended or expected to discuss my grandfather’s suicide in the piece that I wrote somewhat recently w/r/t mental health, but that’s where it started to go, so that is where I went.
With a personal essay, or whatever you want to call these, in the end, you’re supposed to grow, or learn something about yourself along the way.
Hot Topic, believe or not, seems like the best place for all of these things to converge.
The company itself was found in 1988, but the first time I came across a Hot Topic store was in 1995, and I was probably not even 12 years old at this point—it was not at the Mall of America. It was at the Woodfield Mall, located in a suburb outside of Chicago. The moment my adolescent eyes fell upon the jagged, red store logo, and I heard the excruciatingly loud music pouring out of the cramped and dark store, it was like a whole new world opened up for me.
Between 1995, and probably 2002 or 2003, I spent a lot of time, and money, in Hot Topic—certain some of my hard earned dollars were plunked down at the Mall of America storefront, still residing in an uncharacteristically sunny portion of the first floor, but a bulk of my Hot Topic days were at the location in the Cherryvale Mall, in Rockford, Illinois, when I was a teenager.
The store itself, as an entity, or whatever, has been chided for trying to sell some kind of faux-image to impressionable teenagers in suburbia, and yes, there is some truth to that statement, but it’s also a place where those impressionable teenagers go to try and express themselves, finding the name of a band they adore on a t-shirt, and taking some small comforts in knowing there are other people like them out there in the world.
It was more than likely in the summer of 2000 when I found a red ‘White Pony12’ themed Deftones t-shirt, more than likely purchased from the Hot Topic in the Cherryvale Mall. Once a brilliant color of red, I wore it with enough frequency that it began to fade from washings almost immediately—an XL shirt (I was a husky teenager)—it quickly became kind of boxy and unflattering, and did not hold its shape well.
During my first year in college, I was writing a message on the dry erase board outside of my R.A.’s door, when the marker slipped out of my hand—uncapped, the tip of the marker (black in color) grazed my red Deftones shirt, leaving a small black streak on it that wouldn’t come out.
That was the last time I’d wear that shirt.
* * *
In the days leading up to Monday, August 13th, Wendy’s childhood best friend, Amanda, had been visiting, and the two of them had spent a good portion of their time together conjuring up nostalgia for their pre-teen years by watching a pile of movies and television shows from the early 1990s—including the entire first season of Are You Afraid of The Dark?, Clueless, Benny and Joon, So I Married an Axe Murderer, Waynes World (on VHS), and Gremlins 2: The New Batch were among those selected for viewing.
My wife and her friend have a slight head start to the Mall while I’m still at work, so by the time I make my way up there, slightly off-put by how things can both change so drastically and yet be so familiar, they are deep within a place called Box Lunch—a store that traffics and deals nostalgia like it is kilos of cocaine. I find my wife standing by a large display of 1990s-era Nickelodeon-themed items—she holds a Filbert13 mug in her hand and takes a photo of it for social media while her friend is in line to check out.
Right across the sunny hallway of the Mall’s first floor, it practically beckons me—and even though the logo is no longer in a red, jagged font, the sheer amount of black clothing piled up on shelves and the walls covered with plastic t-shirts displays hasn’t changed, and I find myself saying something that no 35 year old should be saying to his wife and her friend.
“Do you mind if I stop in Hot Topic quickly?”
I manage to navigate my way past the “Rick and Morty” and Marvel Comics related shirts and knick-knacks, the countless pseudo gothic accessories crammed onto nearly every surface, and the shelves of Funko Pops (seriously, what the fuck are these?) I land in the back corner of the store, where the infamous wall of band t-shirts resides. A lot of names I don’t even recognize—like who are Dance Gavin Dance, or Real Friends? Are these bands? Who is their intended audience? Some of the names surprise me—like, do people still really listen to Gorillaz, and if so, do they need a Gorillaz shirt—specifically one purchased at the Mall of America Hot Topic store? Why is there an NSYNC shirt here—is this supposed to be ironic?
Then I see something familiar—or, at least, almost familiar—and I gasp.
It’s no longer a vibrant shade of red; now, 18 years later, it’s maroon. The shirt itself is made from a little bit softer of cotton, and seems to be a little more flattering in its cut, and the design itself appears to be a little smaller, or at least, a little more reserved in its appearance.
But there it is—a ‘White Pony’ Deftones t-shirt.
I don’t even bat an eyelash as I lunge toward the stack of them, pulling out a size small and embracing this small glimmer of nostalgia with open arms; the t-shirts are buy one, get one 50% off, and my eyes begin to frantically dart around to see if there’s anything else I want. There’s a relatively basic Nine Inch Nails t-shirt, and an Alice in Chains shirt with the Jar of Flies EP artwork screened onto it. There’s even another old favorite—a reprinted ‘Zero’ Smashing Pumpkins shirt—very similar, though again, slightly more reserved when compared to the one I wore in 1996.
How much nostalgia do I need from the Mall today?
But do I need an Alice in Chains shirt? Do I even like the Smashing Pumpkins enough now in 2018 to even want to wear a reprinted ‘Zero’ shirt?
After about five minutes of spinning around in a small circle, taking in the incredible volume of shirts, I decide the answer is ‘no.’
The music is so loud, and my hearing is so bad that I can barely hear the girl who is checking out my purchase. She also mumbles, or at least talks very quietly and quickly, so that really isn’t helping anything. “Did you know all the t-shirts are buy one, get one 50% off?” she asks me, hoping for a slightly larger sale. I shake my head yes and tell her that there was nothing else I needed.
She asks me something about a frequent buyer card, and about entering my email address to receive coupons—I continue to shake my head, holding my debit card in my hand. “Can I just please pay for this shirt?” I ask, my patience wearing thin.
As I slide my card into the chip reader, I half expect my bank to call me immediately and tell me they noticed a fraudulent transaction on my card. “Mr. Krein,” they’d say. “We noticed a charge from the Hot Topic at the Mall of America—and sir, you’re just too old to be shopping there. Is this a fraudulent transaction?”
My transaction goes through. My shirt is placed in a bag. My bank doesn’t call me to question why I’m shopping at a store marketed toward teenagers.
We head to the third floor, in search of dinner.
* * *
Tucked almost inconspicuously in a corner of the third floor food court—one of two food courts, I guess, Earth Burger glows like a beacon, and I find it kind of funny that it’s tucked next to a Popeye’s Chicken that is still under construction, as well as a Sbarro Pizza and one of those Great Steak and Potato places.
Earth Burger, at this point, has been open for only a couple of hours; it’s not even 5 p.m. yet, and we’ve beat whatever ‘dinner rush’ happens at the Mall of America. As we try ordering, we find that they are still working through a couple of issues—there are no brownies, despite the overhead menu advertising them, and the (non-dairy) milkshake machine is not working.
The counter space is relatively small, in comparison to the other dining options nearby, and a cluster of employees, all a little nervous, huddle together in various pockets. Wendy, Amanda, and I all gaze up at the menu, a little overwhelmed by the fact that, since Earth Burger is 100% vegan, it’s one of those extraordinarily rare occurrences where we can eat anything and everything14 on the menu if we wanted. On the walk over, there had been discussion between my wife and her friend about sharing our food with one another—however, after gazing at the menu, that plan has been abandoned.
“Fuck that,” Amanda blurts out. “I don’t want to share my food with you.”
Next to us are other patrons—two girls, both relatively young, who seem to be as overwhelmed by the choices they could eat, as well as the simple fact that Earth Burger is finally open. One of them looks at me and laughs a little. “I can’t believe it’s finally here!” she exclaims.
Part of me finds this small amount of vegan dining camaraderie endearing; another part of me automatically thinks, “Why is a stranger speaking to me?”
While we are waiting to order, a young man—a little awkward and nervous, a little tired—wanders over to our table. He’s wearing an Earth Burger branded polo shirt, and introduced himself to us. It turns out he works for the company’s marketing department, and begins to chat us up—eventually he asks if he can snap a couple of photos after our food is ready. In exchange, he gives us free Earth Burger t-shirts and coupons for a free side and drink.
He presents us the t-shirts; Wendy and Amanda immediately put theirs on over the shirts they are wearing, and he takes photos of them both actually eating their food, and pretending to eat. I opt to place my shirt inside my Hot Topic bag—“I hope that’s okay,” I tell him. “Wouldn’t this be like how you’re not supposed to wear the shirt of the band you’re going to see in concert?” He laughs, and takes pictures of me shoveling fries into my mouth.
After he thanks us again and wanders away back to a table where two other men, a little older and stuffier looking, also wearing Earth Burger branded polo shirts, sit, with laptops and paperwork in front of them, Wendy and Amanda actually stop to take a look at the shirts we were given and they both concede the Earth Burger logo, screened in red ink on the front, looks similar to the logo from Good Burger.15
“Welcome to Earth Burger, home of the Earth Burger, can I take your order?” they both say, at the exact same time.
* * *
As we make our way back to the Mall’s first floor, heading toward the parking garage, I ask if we can make a stop at one of the other storefronts that, astonishingly enough, has managed to stay open since the Mall’s inception—the Swatch store.
We’re the only ones in the Swatch store at the time—something that doesn’t surprise me at all. I browse around, looking at all of
the Swiss made watches, and the salesman on duty, Timothy, crammed into the store’s apparent uniform (an unflattering denim button down) asks me if need any help. I really don’t, but he begins to unlock the anti-theft devices off of a number of watches so I can examine them a little closer.
In an act that’s part irony, part nostalgia, and part impulse, I buy a Swatch—the face is red and black, and the band itself is reversible. One side is red, the other is black and gray. Timothy, bless his heart, tries to show me how to reverse the band—it’s not difficult, but it’s also not one of the easiest things I’ve done either, and when demonstrating, his stubby fingers nervously attempt to switch one side to the other.
I get the impression the Swatch store doesn’t see a lot of customers throughout a day, despite the fact that it has remained open, and in the same location, for over 25 years.
Timothy asks for my email address so he can enter it with the watch’s warranty. I tell him, and he asks if the ‘83’ at the end of it is my birth year. I tell him it is.
“That’s the same year Swatch was founded,” he exclaims.
It was meant to be, then, I guess—this impulse purchase of mine
* * *
Finding an ending for these pieces—both these “Columns of Disquiet” as well as what I had written in the past for “The Bearded Life,” is always difficult.
Sometimes, when I write these, my hope is that I can figure out how it’s going to end as I’m making my way through—like, when I figure out how I’m going to ‘grow as a person’ or learn something about myself, or whatever—once I reach that point, the hope is that it leads to an ending that makes sense and doesn’t arrive too quickly, or isn’t underwhelming, though I’m sure sometimes it is.
Occasionally, and this has only happened a few times, I get to the ending, or at least, I know how it has to end, before I write anything else—and my job then becomes to write my way back to the beginning, and believe that I’ll be able to write something that is deserving of the conclusion I want it to have.
My original “Mall of America” column for the Southern Minn Scene ends abruptly with a pithy observation about nostalgia and then a small aside about Tupac Shakur t-shirts at Urban Outfitters—maybe I know how else to conclude it, or felt like I still needed to try to get some kind of joke or knowing wink in at the end.
“The Greatest Generation,” an expression coined by Tom Brokaw, is the description applied to those who grew up in the shadow of the Great Depression, and go on to enlist and fight in World War II.
There are a lot of expressions and descriptors thrown around for people that fall into my age demographic—we are part of what I would consider to be “The Most Nostalgic Generation.” Our great depression is our lives16, and the past—movies and television shows we watched with friends when we were young, or t-shirts that we once wore as fat and sad teenagers—are things that, despite possibly growing out of them, we’ve still carried those things with us through time as part of ourselves and part of the idealized version of our own mythology.
My original “Mall of America” column for the Southern Minn Scene ends abruptly with a pithy observation about nostalgia; four years later, this one does too.
*– So, we’re not even into the body of this column yet, and I already have a footnote. I felt like it was worth mentioning that, when I told my wife what this one was going to be about, she said I should title it “Welcome to Earth…Burger,” in a subtle reference to the now iconic line that Will Smith utters in Independence Day. While it is a pretty good title, I told her I was going to pass, and use the title I had already concocted instead.
2– Unfortunately, The Infamous Mobb Deep would be Mobb Deep’s final album; Prodigy, one half of the duo, passed away suddenly in June of 2017.
3– I was paid more than I probably should have been at this job, and at the start of 2014, there were a lot of hints about growing financial problems; in mid-May, I was told they weren’t going to have the money to pay me in June, and I was let go unceremoniously.
4– This gaggle of children were all siblings, put into ‘the system,’ and my wife’s former co-worker/friend and her husband wanted to take all of these children so that they weren’t separated from one another.
5– I feel like I should reveal the secret that when I tell someone I’m going to ‘get some writing done,’ it means that I will write, yes, but I’ll also dick around a lot on the internet (mostly Twitter) and also alternate between staring at an empty Word document, or reading what I’ve already written, making slight changes as I go, hoping that I am moved, at some point, to continue writing whatever it is.
6– I feel like there are some people reading this who probably wish I would return to this format, at least when it comes to these columns.
7– I just wanted to mention quickly that there were times that I took some liberties with the theme, but that for the most part, in the end, the piece turned out pretty well (e.g. the magazine did an issue all about Spam—the processed meat product; I wrote a whole thing about spam emails.)
8– I realized many years later that the pressing of XO that I purchased (released by Plain Recordings) is notoriously maligned among audiophiles; but also, like, every other repressing of XO, whether it be from Universal Music or Bong Load Records, is maligned or flawed to someone somewhere. Truthfully, the version I have is fine; it can be a little flat or quiet at times but whatever.
9– There’s a part of me that has an issue with Urban Outfitters catering so hard to my demographic by selling vinyl—but it’s one of three places in the Mall of America that sells records.
10– I re-watched Clueless recently and as I have been many times in the past when I’ve re-watched it, I can’t fucking believe I watched this movie, at age 12, with my mother.
11– My wife and I re-watched Face/Off recently on Netflix as a joke. It’s awful. Please don’t make the same mistake we did.
12– White Pony was the Deftones’ third album (and arguably their best.) It was released in June of 2000. The cover art had a white silhouette of a horse on it, and 18 years later, that image is iconic and the album still slays.
13– Filbert was the very nervous turtle character from the cartoon “Rocko’s Modern Life.”
14– For those who are morbidly curious, I have the Earth Burger w/ cheese, my wife has the spicy chicken sandwich, and her friend Amanda has chicken strips. We all have fries and soft serve ice cream. It was, without a doubt, glorious.
15– If you are not familiar with it, “Good Burger” was a skit on the Nickelodeon sketch comedy show “All That,” and it was later parlayed into a full-length feature film. Both featured a very young Keenan Thompson, who would later go on to be in the cast of “Saturday Night Live.” His “Good Burger” counterpart, Kel Mitchell, is a ‘professional Christian.’
16– I cribbed this from Fight Club and you know what? I’m not even sorry.
Kevin Krein has been operating the award winning music blog Anhedonic Headphones, since 2013, and he contributed the back page column to the Southern Minn Scene magazine for roughly three years. He occasionally contributes to Bearded Gentlemen Music, and his writing has appeared in River Valley Woman and The Wagazine. You can follow him on ‘the socials’: @KevEFly (Twitter), or @kev_e_fly (Instagram.)