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Listen Up, Nerds: The Best of 2023 (So Far)

Listen Up, Nerds: The Best of 2023 (So Far)

We’re halfway through the year and I’ve listened to a ton of good records and a few bad ones. Mostly good. I’ve shared my thoughts about almost all of them through this blog and I’m grateful that you’ve read them. My fav album so far this year is Torrential Torment by Skourge, the best album I’ve listened to is Maps by billy woods and Kenny Segal. Best/favorite are two different things and my usual “best” record isn’t what I want to listen to all of the time, but rather break out for a special occasion.  In order to talk about something else, I’d like to give the half-year rundown of good things that I’ve experienced.

The Denver Nuggets Won The NBA Championship

One of the big ones this year. I sorta believed it could happen from the start of the year when the Nuggets were dominating most teams they played, especially at altitude on home court. The crucial thing to understand about this team is that they’ve objectively been ready for this for years but they’ve never had their stars align until this year. Murray’s been hurt, Porter Jr. was hurt, their momentum got stopped by a lifechanging pandemic, standard stuff. I’ve never been a fan of a champion team for as long as I’ve been alive. The Indianapolis Colts won the Super Bowl when I was in high school in Indianapolis in 2007 but I wasn’t that big of a fan of the team. It’s a weird feeling to see a team I care about (albeit for only 6.5 yrs) win a title and not be there to celebrate it. It almost doesn’t feel like it really happened. Sports fandom, in and of itself, is a little bit of an empty thing. It’s not your accomplishment but you do reap some sort of little reward for supporting the team. Your friends text you congrats or an “OH MY GOD WE DID IT!” but I’m not in the locker room with these guys. It’s not my brag. But it did feel really good to see a bunch of guys I like and Michael Porter Jr. lift the Larry O’Brien trophy.

Superiority Burger Reopened

Superiority Burger is the best restaurant in the world. I am convinced of this. Its new space has only made it better. By virtue of reutilizing Odessa Diner’s old space, it somehow feels like the restaurant it was always meant to be. It’s been closed for almost two years and now it’s back and I can eat the burnt broccoli salad again. There’s a lot to love about this place but that salad is the best food I’ve ever had in my life. It has everything. Candied cashews, the overly bitter taste of carbonized broccoli florets, the creaminess of an eggplant puree that’s on the edge of babaganoush but still very much its own thing. I can’t get enough of it. Serve it at my funeral.

I Got Laid Off And Started This Blog

This happened at the end of last year but it’s pretty self-explanatory. It’s been a sick project and I’ve loved every second of it. It’s gotten the most vocal support out of any of my weird projects and it’s also been the most rewarding. I think that a lot of this stuff sorta falls off when people don’t get the support they expect or need and while I do think I’ve done a good job with some of the subject matter, the continued support is what any person in this sphere truly needs. That’s the key. When your friends start a substack, band, restaurant, whatever, be loud with the support. Nobody will care if you’re being obnoxious and your friend starting their venture will appreciate it more than anything else.

I Went To MoMA And Stared At Rothkos Until Everything Else Looked Bland

Also self-explanatory but I did that a couple of weeks back. Mark Rothko is my favorite painter and I’m more and more enthralled with his work every time I see it. If you've got the opportunity, go look at a Rothko, and I mean really look at it. Get up close to the point where it's maybe the only thing in your field of vision. The brush strokes are imperceptible. The art feels like it's always existed in this manner. That's my favorite kind of art. My other favorite part of MoMA is Gallery 406B: Matisse's Swimming Pool installation. It is the quietest and most calming place in all of New York City, I reckon.

I Decided To Move Back To Denver

This has been a long time coming. I think I knew that this was going to happen but I told myself I’d do it in a few years. I was stressed after getting laid off and walking around Bed Stuy in March, telling my mom I’d move back to Denver in two years if there wasn’t anything keeping me in New York. I went and saw Midwife play a beautiful set at Union Pool and nearly shed a couple of tears thanks to her rendition of “Colorado,” my fav song off of 2021’s Luminol. That's when I really knew I had to do it now. It’s not that I don’t like New York. I really do love it to death. The energy is unmatched, the food scene is unrivaled, and public transportation! I’ll never know something so moderately efficient again. And yet, I think I nailed what was right for me when I lived in Denver. I’m looking forward to eating breakfast burritos and living two blocks from my favorite record store in the world. I can’t wait to live one block from my best friend and to have a big, wide open space for my cat and me. The big thing is that I realized what’s right for me and I’m chasing it. If there’s one thing that post-pandemic life has provided, it’s that perspective. If I only get a chance to do this whole thing once, I might as well get exactly what I want out of it. As they say, We Are So Back.