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Archive for the ‘remembrances’ Category

Happy Valentine’s Day!

My friend Jessica used to make the most badass mix tapes.  She’d dig up music that none of us had ever heard before and proudly present it on homemade mix tapes with completely nonsensical names like “I Wish You Weren’t A Liar” and “$0.02” and “Małe Kartofle” (pronounced “maow-eh kar-toff-lay”, Polish for “small potatoes”).  I kept all of them and still listen to them when I need to be reminded of good friends and better times.

I miss mix tapes.  I mean, sure, you can burn a CD these days but all the effort put into it seems diminished somehow.  You download a song off iTunes — one that’s already been rated and reviewed for you by other users — and toss it into a folder and let the burner rip.  There’s something missing.  Something about digging and pawing through stacks of random LPs and tapes and CDs at the record store, looking for something that strikes you.  Buying the entire thing and taking it home and digesting it as a whole.  Slowly picking out your favorite songs and tracks.  And then finally sitting down and beginning the laborious process of transferring one song at a time — from twelve or fifteen or thirty different albums — onto one little tape.

And it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of 90s music.  Grunge, post-grunge, punk rock, alternative rock (before disgusting posers like Nickelback and 3 Doors Down ruined that genre…): all good, all golden.  These were my high school days and college days and halcyon days of cheap concerts and late nights and a complete lack of real world worries or responsibilities.  It makes sense that I’d love the soundtrack to times like those.

With that in mind, my little barn swallows, I’ve made a 90s mix tape for you all.  It’s not the good, old-fashioned kind of mix tape; I had to resort to technology.  But I hope you enjoy it, as my Valentine to all of you faithful readers out there.

90s Mix Tape Madness

What’s that?  There’s no Soundgarden on there?  That’s because I hate them.  Don’t question the mix tape!

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It Ain’t Me, Babe

There’s something about getting married that makes you reexamine your past relationships with fresh eyes, whether you intend to or not.

I was sitting in my office this afternoon, making address labels and generally minding my own business.  Absolutely nothing was going through my head except the satiny-rough sounds of Pearl Jam’s Vitalogy streaming through my headphones.  “Corduroy” came on, a song which I must have listened to roughly eleventy-bazillion times in the past five years, and — out of nowhere — there I was.  And there he was.

It was a sudden, intensely strong flashback to January 2002.  My heart started beating fiercely in my chest and I got the same sick, panicky feeling in my stomach that I always got on the dwindling occasions that I would see him towards the end of our relationship.  I hadn’t thought of him at all in years, except to periodically throw out a snide reference to him in passing, like the punchline to a bad joke:  “Oh, yeah?   Well, I dated my college professor.”

I can pinpoint with the kind of accuracy reserved for assassinations and armistices the exact beginning of our ultimately doomed relationship, right down to what I was wearing that afternoon, what I’d had for lunch, what the floors looked like, what the hallway smelled like: every minor, unimportant detail of that day crystallized by a year of bad decisions.

He held the door open for me as I ran into his classroom that day, late.  I was never late to classes, except for that one lousy class on that one afternoon.  “Nice of you to join us,” he half-sneered at me as I walked past him.  His eyes lingered on me uncomfortably as I rushed to grab a seat next to my friend Rachel.  She noted this with a Cheshire Cat grin as I sat down, flustered.  He continued to stare at me, openly and greedily, as I struggled to avoid eye contact.  Who in the fuck did he think he was?  I’d never been looked at like that, like I was prey.  And I don’t think that I have been since.

It was intoxicating. (more…)

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