31 December 2010

2010: The Year of the Brooders

Like so many others tonight, I'm spending the last few hours of the year reflecting on the passing of the year and starting to build anticipation for a new year. Even as arbitrary as the "passing of the year" may seem, I find something comforting in sifting through status updates, blog posts, and old pictures. Yesterday in talking with a friend about the year 2010, I could only think of one word: intense. It was a year of intense highs and intense lows, with little in between.

It was a year heavy with loss and light with the comfort of good friends and family. It was a year I spent confused by time zones, crossing between spaces and places. It was a year I felt at home in more than one place. It was a year of emotional joy and turmoil. It was a year of challenge in numerous ways.

1. I said goodbye to both Pete Peterson and Charles Meador this year. We, as a community, said goodbye to Mark Linkous of Sparklehorse. It was the 10 year anniversary of saying goodbye to my father. The heaviness of these losses weigh particularly heavy on me as we transition into a new year.

2.I also loss the comfort of a few close friends, due to various circumstances. Although I end the year without the comfort of their friendship, I still recognize just how much they've added to my life this past year.

3.The Nashville flood. While so much of what I remember from the flood is of loss, it also produced a family with my neighbors (Ashley and Michelle), allowed me to ask for and receive help from loved ones and good friends (too many to name), and loosened my grip on those things we can't control.

4. There were great shows: Eric Bachmann, Jonathan Richman, David Dondero, The Hold Steady, The National, Andrew Jackson Jihad and The Arcade Fire...and all the music I saw in Puerto Rico-- particularly Anti Sociales and Superaquello.

5. I spent eight weeks of my year in Puerto Rico. My time in Puerto Rico are among (and will always remain) some of my fondest of memories. I found a family there. I met some of the best friends I've ever had and opened my heart up again to the possibility. I also had the opportunity to activate the activist in myself. I think of my friends on the island every day, missing them and appreciating what they've brought to my life. I heart you folks.

6. My mother visited Nashville for my birthday and made my birthday quite spectacular. Trey and Charlie visited, which upon reflection is quite bittersweet. I'll never forget those precious days. My friend Carlos visited in October and was forced to acknowledge my top-notch dance skills. My friend Joel visited for Thanksgiving and reminded me how important it is to enjoy every moment.

7. I had more side lawn parties than I can count.

8. I finished my masters thesis and earned my second masters degree (official today!). I wrote a book chapter. I presented my research on the University of Puerto Rico student movement for the first time. I wrote a grant and was awarded funding to spend the summer in Puerto Rico.

9. I started learning Spanish, both informally and formally. Mostly, I learned how to say "Cabron! Vete pal carajo, mamabicho." That being said, I also learned how to describe my family and furniture in the present tense. Now, I shall move on to perfecting the imperfect and future tenses...and of course, fine-tuning my knowledge of insults.

10. I had the opportunity to witness many of my friends making life-changing decisions. Jennie Ann and Derek got engaged. Ashley applied and got accepted to graduate school in Wales. My brother John graduated from college and got a job. And others, that shall remained unnamed, dealt with tragedies with a grace that I admire. And lastly, my sweet niece (dulce sobrina) Rowan was added to our family.

(I decided to write 11 items, given the new year)

11. If I've learned anything in this past year, it has been the sheer treasure that I have in my friends. Not only do I have the privilege of having a wonderful and talented family, but I've developed numerous other families-- in Charlotte, in Nashville, in Puerto Rico, in South Carolina, in California. I learned the importance of nurturing these relationships through family dinners and the simple acknowledgement of just how much these people mean to you. I've also had the joy of realizing how much I mean to others, which I thank you all for.

And here are some pictures from the past year...for your enjoyment.

Best of 2010

And to 2011, I cheers you. I'm ready for you.

30 December 2010

A Year in Facebook Status Updates: 2010

Over the holiday season, I took the opportunity to review my year of status updates (with the help of a new application on my phone that collects all of your updates in one place). While I appreciate the Facebook applications that compile your top words and the like-- I was curious to see what took place over the course of the year. While I plan to compile a few "Best of 2010"-- I present to you here my favorite status updates from the year...

January 2010
"In the last six months, I've gone from being a 'sad clown' to a 'melancholic pirate'- today, I'm a 'cheerful robot.' -1/24/2010

February 2010
"If I am Daniel Faraday, then you are Desmond Hume. And the island wants us back..." -Jennie Ann Cole on 2/5/2010

"My grandmother gave me some advice today about how to cure my cold: "Go to the liquor store, buy a small bottle. Don't buy too much that will give you a hangover or cheap stuff that will give you a headache. Drink it before you go to bed. And in your sleep, you'll sweat out all the sickness." Hmm, curiously, that wasn't on the list of 4 medications my doctor wants me to take." -2/11/2010

"just received a phone call from the von Trapp house in Salzburg. I'm pretty sure I never imagined that would happen." -2/21/2010

"Soy un robot rumiante." -2/22/2010

March 2010
"is going to spend the afternoon deleting old or corrupt files, backing-up, and then installing a new operating system. Metaphorically, at least." 03/12/2010

"Some creepy computer from Vandy just called me and told me, "This is only a test." Yep. That's true." -3/19/2010

"My plan from May to mid-June: Hone my dance skills for the impending dance off. You better watch your step, I'm taking home the crown this year." -3/28/2010

April 2010
"Last night I dreamed I was having dinner with an important politician from PR (don't worry, it wasn't Fortuno) at some atrocious fusion-esque restaurant. Here was the good part, they sent Medalla ahead of time for us to have with our awkward dinner." -4/1/2010

"The most perplexing question I've been asked lately: "Do unicorns even have lips?" -Arthur Reed" -4/22/2010

"is about to go all coffee cup on you." 04/25/2010

"is trying to convince myself the sound of the alarm going off outside is really the sweet sound of the coqui." -4/30/2010

May 2010
"Oh, in other good news for the night, my bathroom is flooded." 05/1/2010

""Your tongue is purple." -Art Reed in reference to my first exposure to cherry moonshine." -5/3/2010

"It is all in the merging. And I'm pretty sure he merges effortlessly." 05/17/2010

"According to Art and Ashley, I'm being served broodiness on a silver platter in the dining car of the broodexpress heading to Broodmont. Now I just need the right soundtrack." -5/20/2010

June 2010
"I should have been a cowboy." -6/3/2010

"is working on her degree at Attitude University." -6/4/2010

"You guys are really weird about some things. -The Weird One" -6/5/2010

"Porch. Mixed berries. Peligroso." -6/7/2010

"Me (at the local Rite Aid): Do you have pickles? Islam (one of my favorite employees at my local Rite Aid): Pickles? What are pickles? Me: Delicious. Tiny baby cucumbers soaked in vinegar. Islam: Pickles? Me: Pickles. Islam: Pickles? Me: Pickles. (Laughter. High Five.) Islam: No, I don't think we have pickles." -6/9/2010

"I'd rather be brooding than gaying. -Anonymous" -6/19/2010

"I feel like Dorothy. Everything just turned to color." 06/24/2010

"thinks someone has to drink the 40 in the bottle, not a glass." 06/26/2010

July 2010
"is not a lizard person. Thankfully." -7/2/2010

"has decided that I'm not leaving. I'm just saying, Do you know big the universe is?" -7/7/2010

"Apparently, resistance makes you a lobster-person, in addition to stinky and sweaty." 07/18/2010

"It rains champagne here." -7/18/2010

"Is Mario a fruit, vegetable, or grain?" -7/22/2010

""Do you have OIS? Do you repeatedly come up with outlandish ideas about fake weddings, fake beaches, and fake beer commercials? If so, you might have overactive imagination syndrome?" -7/22/2010

"has a camera full of incriminating photographs. Oh my. Manic Monday > Motown Monday." -7/27/2010

"is still wondering what would be more difficult-- taking a chicken on a bus or finding a chicken to take on the bus." -7/27/2010

" "New Rule: If they can't or won't dance: Deal-Breaker." -Ashley Archer (Yes, I concur." -7/28/2010

"I hope you realize you are making leaving far more difficult than it was." -7/31/2010

August 2010
"is covered in sand, in my bed. But swimming in the ocean as the sun came up was a perfect ending to this story." -8/1/2010

"Saying goodbye to Magaly Colon. Tears: 1, Trying to act tough and strong: 0." -8/2/2010

""So I was thinking about Prince the other night." -Joel Cintron" -8/3/2010

"es en la misma pagina, pero en diferentes paises." -8/6/2010

"Sometimes, just sometimes, Mom is right about everything." -8/31/2010

September 2010
"And most of our conversations are about making sandwiches. Awww, true love." -9/8/2010

"will be constructing my travel rider, just in time for my next trip to PR. Yes, there will be stipulations regarding practical jokes, pickles, pears, and dancing." -9/9/2010

"I'll venture to guess the fact that I'm wearing my bathing suit on the plane and going straight to the ocean is exactly what this one needs to remind me. Oh, PR, how I heart you." -9/22/2010

"Gas and Beer. Its the new primo." -9/23/2010

October 2010
"What sound does a walrus make when he is drinking a margarita? -Arthur Reed." -10/10/2010

"just cheers'd Carly to being in the gutter." -10/14/2010

"So, Ashley Ludman y Michelle Mansour, let me get this straight...sometimes it is a reptile disguised as a devil disguised as a wombat disguised as a wolf disguised as a sheep disguised as a man? Oh hell. No wonder we get so confused. By the way, just wanted you both to know, I accidentally referred to you as my "roommates" today. Sabine and Igor are no longer speaking to me." -10/19/2010

"Broodiness and reptile-devil-wombat-wolf-sheep-men: Vete pal carajo. Yep, it is time for a clean sweep and a blank new page." -10/25/2010

November 2010
"was just trying to text the word "ignorer" and it thought I meant "igniter." No. Don't put words in my text, cell phone. Well, maybe it was right." -11/9/2010

""What does that mean? Is it riding around in a Pontiac?" -Ashley Ludman" -11/13/2010

"Or wait, maybe it isn't a wombat...but a hyena?" -11/20/2010

"Joel: "Are there monkeys in Nashville? I want to see the monkeys!" Me: "No, but there are some hyenas and wombats." -11/22/2010

December 2010
"My head is two knives, one phone, and a sugar packet." -12/2/2010

"hopes the clouds disperse soon." -12/19/2010

"Me (to Emmett): "Can I live in your junkyard?" Emmett: "Yes, you can live in this Pontiac."" -12/24/2010

"is not a fan of complicitous silence...and this does not make me very popular at family functions during the holidays." -12/25/2010

"Change the paradigm." -12/29/2010

16 December 2010

Somos Los Brooders Holiday Mix 2010

It is 2010. Here is my annual mix. Many of you already know, but this is the 9th year I've been making the annual mix and distributing it amongst friends. The list has grown quite large-- and throughout the years people are added, removed, added again, or just maintain a permanent spot. Even today, my old friend Anton said, "Of course I remember the mixes. I remember when there were on TAPES!" Yes. I began the process with actual mixtapes.

After spending a good 5 years burning countless cds, printing pictures and song listings, and paying an insane amount of shipping, I thought I would seek out a new production process. I'd also like to thank Reloj Bomba, for not only creating one kick ass holiday mixtape sharing experience, but also for showing me how to move into the technological age of 20-somethings everywhere.

So here you have it. I've provided a listing of the songs with explanations for why they were chosen. At the very bottom of the page, you'll find the link to download the mix.

1. Annie Hall Opening- Woody Allen

If you don't know how much I love Woody Allen, then I'm going to assume we aren't that close. "And it is all over much too quickly...."

2. Estas Que Te Pelas- Carla Morrison

I'll be honest with you. I've been in love with this song for months. However, I just now found the time to look up the lyrics and begin to translate them. And it is spot on. It says exactly what I had hoped was happening in this beautiful cover by Carla Morrison. If you aren't already familiar with her work, please seek her out. She can do no harm. Seriously. I could have compiled an entire mix of only her music. In addition, I came in contact with this version from the website Club Fonograma, where you can download new music and mixes. Que fantastico. "Cuantas ganas tengo, de robarte un beso."

3. Dance, Dance, Dance- Lykke Li

Apparently this mix is going to require me to say, "I'll be honest" alot...Eeeks. The first time I heard this song, it was during my summer fieldwork in Puerto Rico. I was searching online for a hair salon, as I was still two weeks away from being reunited with Andrea at Gloss (Shout-Out!). I pulled up this one swanky salon and this song started playing. I fell in love with it. Little did I realize how true it was...It'll always remind me of Manic Mondays at the Cafe.

"Having trouble telling how I feel, but I can dance, dance, dance. Couldn't possibly tell you how I mean, but I can dance, dance, dance. So when I trip on my feet, look at the beat, it was all written in the sand. When I'm shaking my hips, look for the swing, it was all written in the air..."

4. Shot Down- The Sonics

Yep, Motown Mondays. 5 Spot. Nashville. Awww, the old days.

5. When I'm With You- Best Coast

Apparently I might have arrived on the Best Coast scene late, but WRVU, Vanderbilt's public station (which you should support to keep on the air), played this on the day I got back from Thanksgiving break. It fit. It will always remind of Thanksgiving break. From picking Joel up at the airport to the adventures on Lower Broad to the potluck to the drive from Nashville to Charlotte to the time in Charlotte with family and friends to dropping Joel off at the airport.

"The world is lazy, but you and me, we're just crazy."

6. Be My Baby- The Ronettes

Just a classic. Perfect. Short. Sweet.

7. Hot Love- T. Rex

I'm just going to leave this one without explanation. Does it really need one?

8. Heartilation- Andrew Jackson Jihad

My wonderful friends Magaly and Jorell introduced me to the music of Andrew Jackson Jihad. I fell in love. And this past year I had the chance to see him play, not only in a parking lot to an underaged crowd, but also inside the club. It was magical. This is the kind of song I can turn up to full volume in my truck and play one thousand times.

"I wanna break apart my heart, glue the pieces to my car, crash it into a wall, I don't want to feel at all, I want to break apart my heart. Douse it in gasoline, so the fire burns clean, flick a cigarette like that movie Con Air, doused in gasoline. And if you think you are better than me, you're right. There's no one to love. There's no one to trust. In my life..."

9. So Far Around The Bend- The National

I've loved The National for a few years now. I fell in love with this particular song during my summer in Puerto Rico. There was something about being both between here and there, with and without a home. Full circle. In early October, one of my bestest friends Carlos came to visit to attend The National's show at The Ryman in Nashville. At the last minute, we bought a ticket for Art to join us. The three of us sat in the back of the theatre, dancing, singing, and laughing. It was beautiful.

"Wanted to cry, but you can't when you're laughing..."

10. La Emergencia- Superaquello

My last night in Puerto Rico this summer, I was fortunate enough to be introduced to the band Superaquello by my lovely friend Mario. It was happenstance. We had not planned to be there. We stumbled into the bar. We danced in the crowd. We danced on the side of the stage. And we danced well into the early morning hours in the club, on the street, and in the ocean.

11. Save Me- Aimee Mann

This one breaks my heart every single time. It is for all my brooding collaborators...and for those of you that suspect you are "cold-hearted snakes" inside, because you aren't really.

"You look like a perfect fit for a girl in need of a tourniquet. But you can save me. Come on and save me. If you save me. From the ranks of the freaks, who suspect they can never love anyone..."

12. Bombay- Alex Ferreira

Another cover from the Club Fonograma blog.

13. The Sparrow and the Medicine- The Tallest Man On Earth

My spectacular friends, Trey and Kyle introduced me to The Tallest Man On Earth....but mostly through their posting of videos. And if I am correct, there was one fateful night where Kyle told me I should download an album. And in my hazy state (wait, what?), I downloaded an entire album. It wasn't until this song came on my shuffle during a drive home from school one day that I totally fell in love with it. And I'm sure glad it did.

14. We Can Get Together- The Hold Steady

Oh gosh, I love Craig Finn. I love The Hold Steady. When I first fell in love with this song, it was about The Captain (to remain unnamed). I remember it made me cry then. Then it reminded me of my new friend Jeffrey Parker, because he loved it too. And it didn't make me cry. And then...there was that fateful day. This was the song I was listening to when my friend Trey called me to tell me that our friend Charlie had been killed in a car accident. So, now, this song is Charlie. It will always be Charlie. And it will always make me cry.

"He wasn't just the drummer, he was the singer's younger brother. I still spin the single, but it don't sound that simple. Let it shine down on all of us, let it warm us from within....Heaven is whenever we can get together. Sit down on your floor, and listen to your records. Heaven is whenever we can get together. Lock your bedroom door, and listen to your records..."

15. Caught the Song- David Dondero

Dondero has been an acquaintance for more years than I dare mention and a friend for some less than that. He is incredible. You should see him when you get the chance. This is from his latest album.And you know, it is true.

"I don't want to love and leave you again. I don't want to love and leave a friend..."

16. Winter Winds- Mumford & Sons

Another treasure brought to my attention by the miraculous Kyle and Trey. This is it. This is the broody music. Maybe I lied earlier. I'm not going to be completely honest. I've felt this way...often, even. But that's all you get.

"As the winter winds litter London with lonely hearts, Oh, the warmth in your eyes swept me into your arms, Was it love or fear of the cold that led us through the night? For every kiss your beauty trumped my doubt. And my head told my heart "Let my love grow," But my heart told my head, "This time no, this time no..."

17. Bye Bye Baby- Mary Wells

"Your love was sweet as wine..."

18. Stay The Fuck Away From Me- Lightspeed Champion

Do we need much more than the title of the song by way of explanation?

19. La Hora de Volve- Rita Indiana & Los Misterios

I was introduced to Rita Indiana by Carlos. Some nights instead of talking, we just send one another youtube videos. He sent me this song. At that moment I knew that Rita Indiana and I were destined to convene in the same physical space and the same time in the near future. A few months ago, her band released a whole album. It is amazing. It would be listed in the top five of this year. Hell, I'll go further. I anticipate it'll rank in the top 50 of the decade. Yep, it is that good. I'm not sure I've stopped dancing. Rita, let's plan to meet in San Juan.

20. Pushover- Etta James

My favorite line: "Your temptin' lips, your wavy hair, your pretty eyes with that come hither stare. It makes me weak and I start to bend. And then I stop and think again...."

21. All I Really Want to Do- Bob Dylan

Road trip. North Carolina. Near the Harmon Den exit. Perfect advice from Bob. Sometimes we just have to let go of trying to make something out of something else.

22. Thank You for Your Love- Antony & The Johnsons

How could a holiday mix be complete without Antony? Although I'll dedicate this one broadly to all my incredible friends, there is one person in particular...to whom this applies specifically...my dearest friend Art. He has been there for me this last year..."when all is falling in the seizure of pain," "when I was lost in the dark blackness," and "when my mind was broken into a thousand pieces." If anything could be said about the year 2010, I learned the value of friends....as I know I'm blessed with the most fantastic people around me, both near and far.

23. True Love Will Find You In the End- Daniel Johnston

It will, you know. For the brooders..."don't be sad, I know you will...." And yes, Ashley and Michelle, it will. But maybe it has already found us....in our family.

Find the downloads here...

Download Somos Los Brooders Holiday Mix

And if you have any trouble downloading the music above, here is another place.
Somos Los Brooders Holiday Mix, Take Two