Honorable Mention: The Fremont Diner.
In Sonoma, CA on Highway 37, this little shabby-chic diner bbq’s the shit out of a pig, pickles their onions with juniper berries, and strolls into their backyard garden to pick strawberries (to order) for their strawberry milkshakes.
10. Finishing my Second Album
I finished my second album, Fugue. I thought it was pretty good. Click to download for free.
9. Booker’s “Fracture”
One of my best friends and I got this hard-to-find bottle at the Hotel Cheval in Paso Robles. Due to a stock-keeping error, we got it at less than half MSRP. 96pt (WS) Syrah that may have been the best wine I’ve ever had.
8. My Four Day Drive to California.
Gallons of Iced Coffees from Starbucks. Two Haruki Murakami audiobooks. 2,250 miles of American plains, mountains, casinos, and roadside attractions.
7. Bon Iver’s Bon Iver.
That’s how much I liked this album.
6. Seeing Portishead live.
This was a once-in-a-lifetime chance to see a band that has held a long tenure in my “favorite bands of all time” catalog. Live at the Greek Theater in Berkeley, CA.
7. Traveling to China.
Baiju, hutongs, Sino-American relations, and MBA war buddies in our last hurrah. The drunkest I’ve ever been, followed by the sickest I’ve ever been, followed by me landing a sixteen hour flight from Beijing to Seattle in the lavatory.
4. Getting my MBA.
Dude. That was hard. It made me more prepared than ever to kick ass at life.
3. Getting a job in San Francisco.
Included in this is “getting out of Indianapolis.” Indianapolis, all due respect, was sucking the life out of me. And San Francisco has the most potent business community in the country, one of the best food scenes in the world, and one of the most vibrant communities ever. It was the most logical place for me to start Life 2.0. My new job, my new boss and coworkers, and the deep connections I’ve already made are everything I was looking for. It’s rare that things work out as well as they have. (And I probably couldn’t have done it without #3.)
2. Moving to Oakland.
When I relocated to the bay, I had no idea I would end up living in Oakland. Ironically, my first day in the bay, I spent in Oakland, in the very place I now live. It’s gritty but insatiably friendly. It’s up-and-coming but not overplayed. It’s celebratory in its diversity. It has Cafe Van Kleef, which is literally the greatest bar I have ever been to. It’s got balls. I was meant to be here.
1. Proposing to Annie.
Annie and I have been together for 2 years. Speaking of balls, she has them in spades. She warmed the frozen metal heart of my sadistic shih-tzu, fell in love with a wreck of a guy, and picked up her whole life to move to the San Francisco Bay because I ‘felt’ it was the place I had to be. She’s amazing and she is responsible the deepest, most side-splitting laughs I’ve ever had.