The Best of From a Brooklyn Basement

Today marks the one year anniversary of my first post on From a Brooklyn Basement. I’m not writing as much as I was at this site’s storied conception, but I’m still weirdly proud of the content I’ve produced in the last year: 119 posts (this is number 120) that have gotten more than 9,500 page views. I thought I’d celebrate the anniversary today with—what else—a Top 10 list. In no particular order, here are my favorite posts from the last year, with a few words about why each made the cut.

1. Gone to Look for America: An Epic Road Trip (Part 4)

I got beads

I got beads

I thought it appropriate to start with this one, seeing as how today is Fat Tuesday, and I am sadly not in New Orleans to say “laissez le bon temps rouler.” I started this blog with an eight-part travelogue detailing my cross-country road trip from San Francisco to New York, and what could possible be my favorite piece from that series but this colorful look at my debauched first Mardi Gras. I’m going back next year, Goddammit.

2. The Definitive Tale of the Tape: The Wire Vs. Breaking Bad

I often say that The Wire is my favorite thing (hell, I think I said it in the “about” section of this blog). So, when I found myself wondering if Breaking Bad was so great that it had actually surpassed The Wire to become the greatest show of all time, there was only one thing for me to do: Write an insane, 3,500-word Tale of the Tape comparing the two shows. I had a lot of fun with this one.

3. Desert Island Albums #2: Heartbreaker

Probably my favorite series of posts I’ve done has been my all-time top 10 Desert Island Albums. I’m a big music nut, obviously, and I enjoyed writing all of these, particularly my pieces on Neutral Milk Hotel, Warren Zevon, and Elliott Smith. But my favorite is probably my take on Ryan Adams’ Heartbreaker, a gorgeous alt-country album about being broken up, strung out, and lonely in the big city, an album that includes one of my all-time favorite songs, Oh My Sweet Carolina.

4. Niners Wild Card Round Awards

My most popular series has certainly been my “Niners Awards” column; when I was back in the Bay for the holidays, I had numerous friends tell me they preferred reading my posts to the recaps from actual news organizations. My favorite of the recaps was probably the Wild Card Round one, because the Niners beat the Packers at Lambeau Field, and because I had correctly predicted the final score of the game the week before. If only Colin Kaepernick and Co. could have done the same against Seattle…

5. On Fruitvale Station, Oscar Grant, and Trayvon Martin

fruitvale_station_ver2_xlg

On a rather more serious topic, I was deeply moved when I saw Fruitvale Station last year, and when it happened that George Zimmerman was acquitted of murdering Trayvon Martin the same weekend that film came out, I felt I had to write about it. I think this is my best current events post, and it got me a pingback from David Simon, the creator of The Wire. Also, zero Oscar nominations for Fruitvale Station and Michael B. Jordan? What a rip off.

6. I Love You More

Another sad post, this is a piece I wrote about Lara, my ex-girlfriend, on the two-year anniversary of her death. I ended up reading this at Brooklyn LitCrawl last year.

7. He’s on Fire

Okay, time for a fun post. 20 years after the NBA Jam arcade game was released, I wrote something fun about the time one of my college buddies went on the hottest shooting streak I’ve ever seen in my life. Almost 15 years later, thinking about that game on the Anacapa basketball court still cracks me up.

8. Dear Vice Magazine: What the Fuck?

I was cruising the internet at work one day, and I came across a Vice magazine fashion shoot that put models in the poses that evoked the suicides of famous authors (one example was a model kneeling in front of an open oven, a la Sylvia Plath). Outraged, I immediately dashed off post, taking only 20 minutes or so, calling it reprehensible and exploitative. It ended up being my first post that broke triple digits in page views in a single day. I wasn’t the only one to write about—numerous bigger name writers than I also called out Vice—and the magazine pulled the shoot. I know I personally didn’t have all that much to do with that final result, but it was nice to feel like I was a part of something.

9. The Soundtrack of My Life

Can’t have just one music post on here, and I really liked this one, a look back at the twists and turns in my life and the songs that I imagine playing along with the big moments. I got a lot of good response from people on this one, and it also bears mentioning that it’s one of several posts that my good buddy Juan and I wrote in tandem. Check out his awesome response here.

10. Ein Name Macht Frei

IMG_7795

The story of my visit to Auschwitz. This is pretty much the best thing I’ve ever written, on a blog or anywhere else.

Well, that’s it for the one year anniversary. I hope you enjoyed re-living these posts. And I hope to come up with some more good stuff for you over the next year.

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