A 2006 disc in 2012?! It’s true!

The front cover.

(To get to the download link without having to endure random musings and “deep thoughts,” just go straight to the end of the post.)

Friendships ebb and flow, come and go.

Rather than positioning this a “sad fact of life” (as I initially wrote when I began writing this post), why not consider it a natural process? What and who you hold dear today may not be so much next year — or even tomorrow.  Every day’s  experience affects us, and whether the change happens gradually and incrementally or instantly and profoundly, we don’t go to bed the exact same person we were when we woke up that morning.

This has been rolling around in the back of my mind for the better part of a year, as my friends and I attempt to navigate our ways through some substantial breakups, but came rattling back in earnest this week while I listened to some of the compilation CDs I’ve created to give to friends as gifts over the past dozen-odd holiday seasons. Going back through them, I revisit a decade’s worth of events and marvel at how each year’s liner notes reflect a different me with new and renewed friendships* and a different lease on life.

* Trainer Brian, 2000. (And the exit of Trainer Brian, 2002.) Tom Pier, 2005. The return of Shayna Miller Wyasket, 2007. Funny Michael, 2008. Christopher Wynn, 2009.

And as new people came into my life, others receded in prominence. Co-workers I used to toil next to and have lunch with every day are now people I see once every few months, usually on the weekend, when we’re able to carve out a mutually suitable time. I stay in touch with one of the former Casa Flor roommates almost solely through text messages these days — and another one not at all, after he moved to California.

And, in the most extreme case, I severed a longtime friendship after it became apparent what little regard the other person held it in. (“That’s too bad,” someone said when they heard about the change. “Not really,” I replied, and it wasn’t some attempt at revisionist history but the truth: It might have been a good friendship once, but it metastasized over time and I was no longer interested in trying to treat or cure it.)

Do I wish I could see more of CJ? Of course, but I also understand how different our lives have become over the past four years. We live 20 miles apart, not 20 blocks like it used to be. We don’t work in the same office anymore — or even the same industry. We shouldn’t feel bad about not being able to catch up more, and should make sure to celebrate the times when we can.

What does any of this have to do with music? Every year I cap production of the holiday discs at 50, and every year the list of recipients changes. Awhile back, a few of my newer friends mentioned how great it would be to be able to receive a copy of previous years’ discs, and I realized how easy that would be to accomplish — in a slightly different format.

I’m going to rerelease the back catalog of holiday discs and make them available for download through Dropbox. The file will contain the tracks in order — and I do obsess about the order, so please at least listen to it once in sequence! — along with the cover and liner notes. (Oh, yes, there are liner notes.)

First up: One of the holiday discs from 2006.  That’s the earliest that that I have the computer files for the covers and the notes. (I think the ones from the early 2000s were done in Freehand, when it was still Aldus Freehand! So ancient.) It’s called “Wait Till You See Him” after Track 3, which is a swoony, synthy remix of the Ella Fitzgerald classic and is still one of my favorite songs ever.

Clicking here should start the download; I’ll keep the link live through the end of the week. (Melissa, Dusty: This is a limited time offer! Act now!) Enjoy!

Updated: The link is no more.

The shirt: University of Montana T-shirt, a gift from my sister Tammy.
The shorts: Knee-length jersey shorts, from Uniqlo in New York.
The shoes: Custom Converse All-Star sneakers I created on converse.com.

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