Sunday, January 25, 2009

life angeles

coffee & work email; shouldn't i just be reading the paper?
how did i spend 45 minutes and get nothing on my tasklist crossed off?
out the door. late again to pick up jonathan. 
the sun has broken through and i can see the mountains.
it's a good day.

gallinas vivas, beckons the sign on hoover. i'll pass.
spirited discussion about pricing and branding with jonathan.
glad to hear accounting is going well for him.
and that his spirit remains strong in spite of recent deaths around him.
sometimes i remember what he was like 5 years ago when we first met.
and i'm proud of him.
where does his hope, his relentless optimism stem from?

off to newsong. late again.
a reminder to love, a moment to reflect.
a few friendly faces.
off to alvarado. 
gallinas vivas.
mom made chicken with the man doo guk, but far from viva.
the tv is playing sunday morning hoops & we're talking in spurts between bites.
"how's your foot??
"how's english class going? what are you learning?"
mom chuckles a little when she explains they are learning family member names.
way too easy for her, jane admonishes her to move up to the higher level class.
the pan chan is good, fresh and crunches when you take a bite.
jonathan is going to get his hair braided, it's pretty long and edging towards a mini-fro.
mom makes us coffee afterwards as the lakers and spurs pre-game starts.
out the door. jane with a bag of pan chan. 
mom now focused on andrew bynum vs. tim duncan.

a discussion of aesop rock's mix in the car.
branding swapped for bpms and bassline.
berendo, marked by the salvi bakery and futbol gear shop.
study hard, stay safe, see you next week.

vermont is waking up and wearing its sunday colors, blaring its sunday bachata & ranchero music.
i'm keeping an eye out for pedestrians and swerving cars while chatting with dorian.
another billboard for the afro ninja anime.
we stumble upon an irony.
youth today like jonathan have more ability to advance than ever before, but
their environment is more dangerous than previous generations.
if you can survive, you can go far.
high stakes for young people that should be worried more about scoring a date than steering clear of the neighborhood thugs.
i'm glad my youth was spent in relative innocence.
i recall catching lightning bugs & playing freeze tag.
steering through the swamp on a dingy during a rainy season.
drawing fantasy battle scenes on paper with my best friend sam.
going to the gym at the Y-center downtown with my dad.
our mara salvatrucha were the older kids.
the only pain was related to embarrassment, nothing more.

off to see slumdog at the laemmle near our place. 
jane arrived before me and grabbed our seats.
when she sees me, she hands the ticket to the attendant and whispers:
"see mike tyson over there?"
sure enough, there he is.
fat, tattoo-faced in khakis and a green-striped shirt buying a bag of popcorn.
jane's grabbed a seat for us near the back.
the movie is spectacular.
we wonder if mike tyson liked it.
jane and i joked that we would ask him, but it's not like he's jah rule or something.
old dave chappelle jokes age well, apparently.

off to the gym.
sub-7 minute miles are feeling good. 
let's see what i can do in the next race.
jane cranks out nearly 5 miles.
this is from the girl who could not run a mile without stopping when we met.
i can claim no credit, her determination is her own.
we're out at 5pm when the gym is closing;
odd since it's called 24-hour fitness.

i roll up to the parking attendant to pay for my stay.
she's speaking with her friend in the booth.
and ignoring my while she speaks
"bitch was calling..."
really. this is why shopping online is so popular. service is so often abysmal.
i just want to leave the lot, why do i have to feel like i'm interrupting someone's conversation?

finally home and time to make dinner.
spinach salad, stir-fried veggies & blackened shrimp.
frozen yogurt with berries.
and the SAG awards.
red wine (should have bought the better stuff, ah well)
i'm watching tv with jane and plowing through email.
deleting digital clutter, looking up actor facts for jane & editing slides.
the dishes are done and jane is tucked in.
my quiet time with sandalwood incense is waiting.
and a glass of whiskey with rocks.
i check the lakers score, finish my work, collect my thoughts.
and place them where they won't be lost.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

best of '08

constant rotation
elbow, "the seldom seen kid"
while people fawn over crappy indie music like the weepies and los campesinos, elbow quietly (at least in the US) delivered one of the most beautiful, compelling albums of the year. while vampire weekend is fun, elbow is fun, poignant, and lush. imo, the most complete works of the year from first to last track; there's only 2 songs on the album skip past in my ipod.

vampire weekend, "vampire weekend"
i found myself going back to this album again and again. there's something undeniably catchy about the brainy fluff punk of vw, the album expertly captured how i felt on my best days at university of michigan. it can be a little over the top and cheesy at times but it's fun enough to where you hardly notice. best tracks: m79, a-punk, oxford comma, blake's got a new face, mansard roof, bryn.

yoav, "charmed and strange"
never left my 4GB ipod through the year after receiving it from kcrw's cd club in the spring. big hit for everyone i gifted it to, and for good reason: the songs are passionate, unique with sparing production focused on masterfully employed guitar and percussion. if only he was touring in the US... best tracks: club thing, beautiful lie, there is nobody, live.

emilianna torrini, "me & armini"
i wish this had only been an EP: 1/2 of the songs are superb and the other 1/2 sound like she swallowed a handful of oxycotin and then alternated picking her her guitar and her teeth. this is why album sales can suffer but online music sales can soar. nonetheless, try listening to jungle drum and not singing along, or feeling a little boost afer big jumps. she's clearly having a good time. best tracks: me & armini, birds, big jumps, jungle drum.

jack johnson, "sleep through the static"
while i originally dismissed jack johnson as surf-folk music for hip department stores, '08 was the year i gave in and became a full-fledged fan. sleep through the static cemented this for me,a very nice album that is the natural continuation of his previous albums. best tracks: enemy, hope, if i had eyes, what you thought you need, adrift.

coldplay, "viva la vida" + "prospekt's march"
after a miserable 3rd album (xy), coldplay returns with a diverse, striking 4th album. the only real shame is that they clearly kowtowed to the label by not including the "bonus" EP of prospekt's march in the original album (artists typically only get paid for the 1st 12 tracks, guess how many viva la vida has?). anyways, the album feels cohesive yet manages to cover a lot of ground from anthems like viva la vida to the sharp opening instrumental (life in technicolor) and the bluegrass tinged strawberry swing (this track was my favorite and became the ringtone on my old nokia).

heavy playcount
- adele, 19
- gnarls barkely, the odd couple
- santogold, santogold
- rodrigo + gabriela, live in tokyo
- top ranking, santogold + diplo (compilation)
- tricky, knowle west boy
- juana molina, un dia
- thievery corporation, radio retaliation
- pacifika, asuncion

hmmmm... not quite but...
- ac/dc, black ice
- evil nine, they live!
- q-tip, the renaissance
- j-boogie's dubtronic science, soul vibrations
- aterciopelados, rio
- beck, whatever the hell his album with danger mouse was called
- monkey by damon albarn & some other guy

- MIA, kala (middle eastern techno & grade school aussie rappers? really?)
- cold war kids, against privacy (title track is great, what happened to the rest?)
- lyrics born, everywhere at once (nowhere i wanted it to be)