Just about 8 years ago, I was an undergraduate student at UC-Santa Cruz, apparently the "crown jewel" of the UCs as I read in some brochure. Visual evidence here.
When I first got to SC, I was headed towards a career in history. Fresh off 2 years of Socratic instruction and thoroughly critical paper writing from a great teacher at my high school.
Or legal studies. To "learn how the rules so I could learn how to 'break them" heavily inspired by the big blockbuster "Catch Me if You Can."
Or Anthropology. Cause after classes with Donna Haraway, Lisa Rofel, and reading Guns, Germs, and Steel, Mythologies, and City of Quartz, the discipline of Anthropology was the most "natural" subject to integrate all those interests.
A large chunk of my Santa Cruz experience also included the social events and interactions: the Pilipino Cultural Celebration (PCC) where I played a "manong", an elder Filipino man, the Saturday nights of my sophomore year up the hills at Merrill College with a multicultural hodgepodge of characters pretending not to drink while being "underage", the ish-talking while going to the dining hall, using NBA Street as a therapy for everything.
I loved Santa Cruz, but I guess I liked LA a lot more.
And I did wonder a lot about what my path woulda looked like had I just stayed on for the rest of the 2 years.
All water under the bridge now, and I just made some new memories about a few weeks ago there, but here's to the place and peoples that made Santa Cruz, Santa Cruz.
Fischerspooner - Emerge
I forgot exactly how I bumpbed into this song, but I do remember it was clearly my soccer-ball-kicking, All Mac-everything, NBA 2K3-hogging friend Harlan's song.
But I thought nothing about him at all.
Instead all I thought about when I heard this song was Jamal Crawford and the Chicago Bulls of 2002-2003.
There was nothing positively memorable at all about the 2002-2003 Chicago Bulls.
Sublime - Santeria
This was more a Long Beach song, and all because of Ms. Company Flow Desiree Mags.
But it was a good way to sum up the good times at UCSC.
Dilated Peoples, Talib Kweli - Live on Stage (Remix)
The defining song of NBA Street Volume 2 and arguably the NBA Street series.
NBA Street Volume 2 took up a good chunk of time for my sophomore year, the same way that NBA Street Volume 1 took up some time for my 1st year.
Not because I was trying to beat the game itself or anything, but all because Daniel wanted to keep playing the freakin' thing after every event in our lives.
We would play it on Friday nights, after class, after dinner, after tests, during good times, during bad times, before class, before dinner, before tests.
It would usually start with Daniel asking, "Hey Brian, wanna get a quick game of NBA Street in?"
I'd usually pick any team, usually a garbage team, and go on to win, usually.
I probably had an 80% winning percentage against Daniel, me being generous. Passersby who would sit in on these NBA Street sessions would be prone to questioning why exactly Daniel would continue to play the game, as he never appeared to improve nor did he win much despite choosing a legends team composed of Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, and Wilt Chamberlain or some other variation.
Whenever I'd make a defensive play he wouldn't get mad at me, he'd get mad at the animated video game representation of the player "Awww Magic, you fucked up!"
Usher - Yeah
The undeniably super-runaway hit of 2K4.
People loved imitating Lil Jon, and it even carried over to the PCC performance.
Orishas, Heather Headley - Represent (C.U.B.A.)
I don't know how I bumped into this song, but I was very very very aware of it after the Pilipino Cultural Celebration. And I really liked the choreography of it all. Or maybe just all the beautiful Filipinas there that barely knew I was there. Haaaah!!!!
Lyrical Gangster - Here Comes the Hotstepper
A song from 1995 that became relevant because I could suddenly download music once again and I really wanted it. When I got to those Friday, Saturday nights at Merrill College, and we were at somebody's place, we'd usually have a computer playing music. This was the song that I'd get first.
My friend Mario was keen to remind me that this was the song that I really wanted too.
A Perfect Circle - Love Song (Cover)
So I was introduced to A Perfect Circle by my roommate Joel. He only had a 24 x 36 of them mounted on his wall, and I was always looking for something "else" other than the hip-hop and rap, and video game songs that I was completely versed in.
I was trying to like A Perfect Circle and Tool, but it just wasn't my steez.
But I'd download tons of it, hopefully in the hopes that there was something I'd like.
I ran across this song.
Amazed by it.
I truly, truly loved it.
And I could finally say that I liked one song by A Perfect Circle.
Zion I - Elevation
Erwin Busta-door, my high school classmate who went to Santa Cruz with me introduced me to Zion I. This song sounded like no rap I'd ever heard before.
Before long, the group became my ultimate favorite group.
Zion I - Boom Bip
The 2003 Multicultural Festival.
Ozomatli got the place hyped but first it was the energy of Zion I that brought us up.
Zion I, Susie Suh - One More Thing
This song is my official Anthropology anthem only because its live guitar strands, chants, reminds me of sand, and all things experimental, transient, and exploratory.
Weezer - Only in Dreams
After I made my decision to transfer to UCLA, I heard my friend Harlan play this song in his room. The feeling was like sticking myself in a jacuzzi: really hot, uncomfortable, but eventually I would be absorbed in the heat.
I didn't know what I was doing.
Goapele - Closer
I was enthralled by her aesthetic features.
Goapele performed this as the last song at the 2004 Multicultural Festival, which she dedicated to the graduating seniors, and I guess to me making my exit.