There’s an absolute blue streak of a song called “My Year In Lists” by Los Campesinos! off their generally hyper 2008 debut Hold On Now, Youngster… And, even though it’s four years old now, the song has inspired me to think about my year, in lists.
Defining Moments and Experiences
- Driving from Davidson to Chicago to Denver to San Francisco to Seattle: This was crazy. Davidson to Asheville (where we stayed with the Noreña/Eggleston/Leahy collective), to Nashville (Mrs. Jessie Parker Early, from whom I have not yet recovered my lost Wittgenstein book), to Chicago (four awesome days at the Andersons’), to Des Moines (late-night IHOP), to Lake Saylorville (camp stove in the hotel parking lot), to Denver (Bon Iver at Red Rocks), to Salt Lake City (where I nearly broke Lexi’s leg), to Danville (I get to unload all my stuff), to Manchester State Beach (amazing sunset), Humboldt (amazing sunset, II), somewhere in southern Oregon (playing Bjork really loud in the car, rain in the tent), Portland (speaking French with Gabi’s bird), and finally Seattle. Totally epic.
- The Net Impact Conference: This was really cool just because it was my first really big professional experience. The Baltimore conference was a lot of work–more work than, looking back, it’s possible to believe we ever got done. But it was also a lot of fun.
- Pictureplane Is Playing At My House: One day last spring, every college kid’s dream came true for me. As a member of WALT, Davidson’s college radio station, I had been involved in organizing a music festival featuring four touring artists. Of course when the show ends we’ve got to have a party… so it was really awesome when Travis Egedy, AKA Pictureplane, came up and asked where the after-party was going to be at. I frantically told someone to go buy “a lot of beer” and texted everyone I knew. An hour and a half later my apartment was packed; I was tossing PBR to anyone I could find; Marie was hanging off the balcony; and Lexi was pouring vodka shots for Travis, who was gluten-free. He dropped “Just Like Heaven” and it was, indeed, just like heaven.
- Joining the band: I was able to realize a not-so-secret ambition to play music with a band. Early in the year I joined up with my bros Ben and Tyler to jam as Horse Cock, and soon after that got a gig with Ben as the rhythm section for Great American Kitsch. Getting on stage for the first time was thrilling, and I can’t wait to do it again. I only hope I’ll have the chance.
- Academic achievement and peer recognition: I accomplished what I set out to do in writing my thesis. Since I committed to anthropology as an undergraduate I knew I wanted to write an honors thesis, and I was really proud to earn the high honors distinction. I was even more honored by the peer recognitions that came about towards the end of my Davidson career. I’d mostly felt like I’d been a side character for most of my four years, but it was validating to see that my peers saw me as a leader in the environmental movement by voting me to Omicron Delta Kappa and the superlative of “most likely to live in a solar house.” It is really important to me to be the change I wish to see in the world, so this was really wonderful.
- Unemployment: So I know what it’s like to be unemployed now, and it blows. It’s super boring. It’s been a major feature of this year, but not by design (though I do hold some of the blame).
- Two transcendent concert experience: This year I went to probably my two favorite concerts ever. As great as each one was, they were pretty different. I went to one with my best friend; for the other I went alone. One was outdoors, one was indoors. There were several thousand people at one and maybe a hundred and fifty at the other. For the first, we sat or stood in one place, a hundred yards from the stage; for the other I thrashed, jumped, pogoed, and generally sweated right up on the stage. Bon Iver’s dreamscapes on the one hand, and the pummeling gutter-punk anthems of Titus Andronicus on the other.
- Graduation: The total rush of experience, scripted too well. Staying up all night before we got kicked out of our apartment. Families we’re born into and ones we build over four years. Taking to the stage, barefoot. One last Sangam buffet. Small departing rituals. Sprinting down the gravel causeway, the moon my only witness, to be the first one into the lake.
- The Ferris Wheel: Hard to put into words, but the week I visited Lexi before her departure for the Watson year was really memorable. I’ll never forget how terrifying and exhilarating it was to go up in the newly-constructed Seattle Ferris Wheel, entirely on a whim.
- The “Bernie Lean” 2012 A’s: For whatever reason, I followed this club more intensely than ever, and as my enthusiasm grew so did the team’s winning ways. They were a bunch that was incredibly easy to like–goofy, earnest, and intense all at once. I was at game 161, when the A’s won at home to set up the showdown with the Rangers the next day, and I was at game 164, when the A’s came back in the ninth off Valverde to win. A really memorable season that reminded me why I follow sports.
- Medusa: I tend to think of about twenty-five projects for every one that I actually start. So my progress on a novella, based on the Medusa myth and transplanted to the modern day, is really encouraging. I hope I can keep it up!
Top Listens of 2012 by Song:
Modest Mouse — 3rd Planet — 46
Radiohead — Karma Police — 35
Girls — Lust for Life — 31
Yo La Tengo — Nothing to Hide — 27
Toro y Moi — Still Sound — 27
Bon Iver – Holocene — 25
Radiohead — Jigsaw Falling Into Place — 24
Broken Social Scene — Lover’s Spit — 22
The Beatles — Don’t Let Me Down — 22
The Flaming Lips — Race for the Prize (Remix) — 22
Deerhunter — Nothing Ever Happened — 22
LCD Soundsystem — Someone Great — 22
Nick Drake — Northern Sky — 20
Tortoise — Gamera — 20
M83 — Lower Your Eyelids to Die With the Sun — 20
Best Live Shows of 2012:
10. Neko Case & Phantogram (tie)
9. Kids These Days
8. Christopher Owens
7. Cloud Nothings
6. We Hart Live Music
5. Dirty Projectors
2. Animal Collective
1. Titus Andronicus & Bon Iver (tie)
Top Listens of 2012 by Artist: