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Jean Synodinos | Austin, TX

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Essays

If You Never Met Freida…

If you were never among the privileged souls who spent some time with my dog and best friend Freida, please let me tell you about her now. We met outside of the HEB supermarket on the corner of Manchaca and Slaughter, August 2006.  I was pulling into the parking lot when I saw a very animated family, a very large box, and a very big sign saying “Free Puppies.”

Continue reading “If You Never Met Freida…”

I Miss You. Thanks for the Visit.

December 9, 2016

Dear Charles,

It’s been two years since we lost you, and it still reverberates more than you know with more people than you might imagine. You are still so loved. Continue reading “I Miss You. Thanks for the Visit.”

Trump Won. I Wept. Then This Happened. Now What?

Less than 48 hours ago, Donald J. Trump became President-Elect. I join the majority of U.S. voters* who were knocked to our knees by this unexpected turn. Continue reading “Trump Won. I Wept. Then This Happened. Now What?”

The Cubs, Marriage, and America

Just over an hour ago, millions of Americans watched the Chicago Cubs break a 108-year old losing streak in the 10th inning of the 7th game of the 2016 World Series.

It. Was. Beautiful. Continue reading “The Cubs, Marriage, and America”

My NYC Marathon: NaNoWriMo

NaNoWriMo: it’s not a foot race, but it is definitely a marathon. Ever heard of it? It’s National Novel Writing Month. Every year, tens of thousands of fools commit to writing a 50,000 word first draft in the month of November.

This year, I’m one of them.  Continue reading “My NYC Marathon: NaNoWriMo”

“love & blood” has a birthday

One year ago this week I released an album, love & blood.

I never actually posted a darned thing about it on this blog. I don’t know why, since I’ve never been prouder of a body of work, but that’s what happened. The album had a very good first year in the world. Continue reading ““love & blood” has a birthday”

9/11

September 11th creeps in under my radar and punches me in the solar plexus every year. Fifteen years ago, on a crystal clear morning in Austin, TX, I was dressing for work when the phone rang: “Turn on your TV,” said my friend. Within seconds, my jaw froze, my chest tightened, and my eyes burned. Then I joined the millions who wept loudly, feeling that wind and smoke scrape our veins.

Continue reading “9/11”

The Monkees Kinda Brought the Summer

Yes, those Monkees and their early-summer release, Good Times.

I’m not late to the party, though I’m certainly late to posting about the party—an ear candy party that popped in and out of my earbuds and speakers throughout the summer. A near-perfect pop album that always felt at once nostalgic and fresh. Every time it slipped into me I came to the same conclusion: Continue reading “The Monkees Kinda Brought the Summer”

Wild Speculation: This May Be How Trump Thinks He’ll Save Face in Defeat

I’ve never used this space to express political opinions, but ’tis the season, and in truth, I’m a bit of a junkie for the stuff. Mind you, I’m happiest when I pay exactly no attention to politics, but the stakes are awfully high this year. No one should put their head in the sand.

Continue reading “Wild Speculation: This May Be How Trump Thinks He’ll Save Face in Defeat”

Black Blue Red: July 2016

Overwhelmed: for days, it was the only word I could utter to describe the events of the week. Three cities, seven murders, more injured. If you did not drop to your knees in pain, I don’t see how you could have been paying attention.

Continue reading “Black Blue Red: July 2016”

Doves Are Crying Across the World

Doves are crying, and so am I. We’ve lost one of the most important artists of the last 100 years. This one hurts, worse than Michael Jackson, worse than David Bowie, worse than any I can remember.

I only saw Prince in concert once, but it was a private show in NYC at 3 AM in some unimpressive warehouse in Chelsea in 1993. Here’s how I got in, it’s a pretty decent story: Continue reading “Doves Are Crying Across the World”

Plan A, Part 1: The Why

When we think about “return on investment” (ROI), we generally think in terms of time and money. Did the time we spent yield meaningful results or was it wasted? Did the money we invested yield a profit?  

I’ve read (in a few places, so I can’t be sure of the true attribution), that money is a renewable resource while time is not. This concept becomes more salient with every passing year.  

Continue reading “Plan A, Part 1: The Why”

Bowie’s Final Grace Note

I’m listening to Bowie’s last album, Blackstar, released to the public on his 69th birthday, 100 hours or so before his death. And there are 100 reasons I am overwhelmed by it. Not only as a body of work from a significant artist but as the ultimate period at the end of his life’s book. Continue reading “Bowie’s Final Grace Note”

Screw the Stilted Rituals, I’m Ready for Fun

I like rituals as much as the next odd-ball, and New Year’s Day is a splendid time for them. It’s a world-wide birthday. It’s a regular opportunity to reflect on what was–and consider what might be.

Continue reading “Screw the Stilted Rituals, I’m Ready for Fun”

Perfection is Boring

I’ve been working on lyric videos for the new album, and this week’s upload is  “Bark Right At the Moon.” It’s the first track we recorded at Rubicon Studios back on December 29, 2014, just a few weeks after Charles died. It’s such a straightforward song so many ways, it felt like the perfect choice for all of us to feel each other out in the studio. Continue reading “Perfection is Boring”

The Birthday Memo

Lucky, lucky me. It’s been a great day, and as you can tell from the picture, here we are, Freida and me, by the fire under a full moon, so that’s a fine life.

Continue reading “The Birthday Memo”

Another 10 Great Snapshots from One Great Road Trip

The last post shared a handful of snapshots of some natural glory from last month’s road trip to the Grand Canyon. Yes, it was a tiny representation of iPhone photos that couldn’t possibly do justice to their subjects. I know, I know — as photos, you could mark most of them as #fail.

Continue reading “Another 10 Great Snapshots from One Great Road Trip”

12 Great Snapshots from One Great Road Trip

Listen, I get it. This site may be my own little corner of InterWebs to post whatever I want, but no one likes to look at pix of others’ vacations. That’s why I’m going for the highlight reel here — a dozen snapshots of pure, pure nature from the best ten days I’ve had in a long, long time.

Continue reading “12 Great Snapshots from One Great Road Trip”

When Old Dreams Really Come True (#SXSW)

It’s 1981.

I’m a theater major at Duke University in Durham, NC. I hate frats and sororities but still dig the basketball team. I live off campus. I have insanely phenomenal friendships (still well intact 30 years later). We study hard and party harder. We Think Big Thoughts. We play our music LOUD, and we are going to change the fucking world. There is not a minute wasted in our lives. Not one. Continue reading “When Old Dreams Really Come True (#SXSW)”

Neighbors

If there’s one thing I’m sure of, the stories each person, each family are remarkably similar. The characters may have different names, may look and sound different, but we have common denominators–victories, failures, endurance, and comic relief.

Continue reading “Neighbors”

Families by Marriage and Choice

I love my family of birth. I can’t imagine life without my mom or my sister and her family. That’s all there, intact and wonderful.

I love my family of choice, those friendships acquired and maintained over the decades, from college to a decade in NYC to my years here in Austin.

And I’ve recently realized that I love, very much, my family once by marriage and now by choice. Continue reading “Families by Marriage and Choice”

When Work Makes the Dark Days Light

The last few days of 2014 may well have been the best of the year. Actually, the were the best, and–with my fingers tightly crossed–I hope they’re the map for 2015. I spent these days laying down the basic tracks for the new album, love & blood.

Continue reading “When Work Makes the Dark Days Light”

Incongruous

Incongruous is the only word to describe this month. As the definition below suggests, things are “not in harmony.” Continue reading “Incongruous”

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