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Year One: The Best of 2011 (and some free music)

The end of the year approaches, therefore I feel obliged to put down a few scrambled thoughts and oversights in scrape-knee’d confusion.  Much like birthdays, the end of another calendar year serves as a time of reflection; a milestone of success and/or failure and/or the pains and pleasures of life and/or lack thereof.  It’s a sobering moment, however, the majority of us “sinners” will be reflecting upon our year through the bottom of an empty glass, with just the slightest lingering brown liquid hanging on a pressed concave as though it were the last drop of hope left on this god-forsaken planet… or maybe that’s just the Scotch talking.  I know I’ll do my best to spend the end of the year with the new-found friends and like-minded cohorts that moved down to Los Angeles ’round about the same time I took the concrete swan dive.  I’ll make merry.  There will be laughter and stories, and I’ll try my damndest to be kind to my wife as well as all of those friends that have tolerated by bullshit for far too long.  I’ll raise a glass and thank each and every one of you for all of your fond memories and kindnesses that helped make a very troublesome year a little easier to stomach.  I’ll pour a small amount of choice alcohol on the ground for my homies (though not too many of them are dead or lost – I have 1st World problems after all).  It’s a constant blurry reminder of how we spend that fateful last hour of our ever dying youth… celebrating with friends, drinking profusely, and trying to remember all of the good and bad of the year gone by.  2011 was a challenge for me, to say the least.  Lemme break it down for ya…
New Years eve of 2010 was spend at my wonderful little Pacifica, California home.  My San Francisco friends that didn’t have other plans in the city came down, as well as my beloved Memphis transplants.  I felt full of life and love, but still longed for something that I had set out to do at the tender age of 18.  It was a nagging point of a blade in my soul.  I was becoming complacent and comfortable and I watched our foolishness and youth play about my living room as Andrew Shepherd entertained our guests with the filthiest strip tease I’ve ever seen a grown man attempt whilst still keeping his boxer briefs on.  It probably didn’t help that Ellie and James were urging his continued gyration with dollar bills and firm Bulgarian slaps on the buttox, but I digress.  Something deep inside told me that I had to leave all of this wonderful comfort behind to seek out this bothersome pain and strangle it to death through the hard work of mine own hands.
My wife took a job that she otherwise would have spurned in confusion.  She and I spent three excruciating weeks hopping between two cities to look for a place to live.  We packed up the largest moving truck I have ever had to rent (we have amassed far too much bullshit for a couple with no children) and moved 6 hours south to West Hollywood, California.  After overcoming the  fear of losing every worldly possession in one fell swoop, we parked the gigantic moving van in between two apartment buildings, pissed every tenant off, and arrived at our new home.   There were bits and pieces of a new city phobia and excitement that kept things interesting enough not to spiral into severe depression and dependency.  I learned to like the open windows and music pouring out of the spring and summer nights.  Walking the dog became a zen koan.  The 5 months of looking for employment (and subsequently my wife working from home – about 30 feet away) became a living hell.  I’ve been constantly employed for 19 years.  The fear of not having work clamped around my throat and threatened to take it all away.  2011 was my test of whether or not I could do this shit FOR REALZ (as the kids say… or maybe I just think that’s what they say.  I’m fucking old after all.  I was born before the internet.)
The wife and I had some struggles with work and the new city.  We were both unhappy and struggling with so many changes.  We took it out on ourselves and took it out on each other.  The only sane “person” in our household was Buddha, my 9 year old black lab.  His silence and wisdom was often the only thing to bring me back from the edge.  There was some looming darkness hanging in the corners of the ceiling whispering devilish incantations, suggesting that we’d screwed everything up.  We left all of our friends, a wonderful European/American city, semi-successful jobs, and an ocean view for the sweltering ball-sack of hell and bloated bullshit of Los Angeles… all because I feel as though I’ve been destined for something more (or maybe it’s because I’m starting to believe all of the complimentary push and pull of those that told me to do it).  Maybe it’s because once in my life I decided to finally believe in myself and hoped to God, Karma, Zen, Buddha, and every other etherial plane that my wife would follow me, believe in me, and give me a chance to prove myself to myself….  I’m glad she did.  I couldn’t have done it without her… and if I’ve only got one fan, I’m glad it’s her.  If you ever want to know how adopting a pet from the pound feels, just ask me.  I have some first hand knowledge on the subject of learning trust, unconditional love, and hoping that you’ve got more meant for you than the depths you’ve dug for yourself.
So, I started getting work and Christine started getting out of the house.  Normalcy began to take some familiar form.  We began to hit some strides and routines.  It’s not a fix but it’s a start.  I got involved with some fantastic people and some fun short films. I finished a long to be finished short film of m own design, I worked with some legends and heroes,  I got some expensive shit stolen in Mexico (and stung by a scorpion), and I lost weight and got some color back in my skin.  My hair grew a little more grey.  I traveled back to San Francisco for work a few times and realized time and time again why I love that city so much.  I realized why ‘ol Jack loved that city.  I realized that with all of the pain and madness of life, what it’s like when you find home… that feeling that you lost when your childhood died and the crush of adulthood took it’s place.  However, I’m not quite done with my misadventures in the land of make believe.  I have unfinished business… and I will not feel whole until I have done more than due diligence.  I’m not here to become comfortable and complacent.  I’m in it to win it.  I will not take no for an answer.  I will not settle.  I will set goals and let my motivation and completion be the judge.  2011 was a year of change, overcoming fear; overcoming myself.  2012 will be another year.  It will mean growth.  It will mean struggle.  I’m not going to proclaim that it will be the year that I do “this or that” or hit the high water mark.  It’s going to be everything that it was supposed to be… and I’m going to make the best of the time I’ve got.  I’m going to love and live and make decisions to accomplish what I set out to be.  I’m not getting any younger.  Life isn’t getting easier.  It just “is.”
As I bring my blathering to a close, I want to share something with those of you that made it all the way to the end of my bizarre little rant.  I will share with you a collection of music that I feel should be shared as a Best of 2011 offering.  It’s what I found and what I like.  I hope you like it too.  Some of it you may have never heard.  Some of it you may hate.  Well, there’s always next year….

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Faster Than The Pony Express