Playlist Research

How on earth did people research anything before the internet?

I have a file of track listings from numerous MTV compilation CDs from the 90s to make playlists to listen to while I’m writing that memoir.


I can’t imagine how many secondhand stores I would have to visit to find copies of those CDs. And then I would have had to buy them, of course. Without internet, how would I make a playlist?

I’ve spent an hour copy/pasting and compiling lists and typing in search boxes. Listening to find the right remix. Just an hour. That’s all. Technology is amazing.

I have one CD completed.

So many songs that I haven’t heard in years and years.

And I still know all the words.

But I’m still having a hard time finding Techno Bass Crew’s Music from Beyond. It crashes Spotify every time, and that’s the only place I can find it besides iTunes. I’ll work something out.

Desert Island Entertainment

What are your top two favorite books? That is, if you could only have two books, which would they be? And what about movies? Say, three of those. 

When I went on my farthest solo road trip, to Yellowknife, I brought two books, three movies, and a bunch of CDs. The books and CDs were all I had for the nearly week-long trip there, and the whole shebang was much of my entertainment for the month I stayed. I really need to write about that trip. 

The movies:

  1. Natural Born Killers
  2. Strange Days
  3. Twelve Monkeys

The books:

  1. Stranger Music by Leonard Cohen
  2. The Waste Land, and Other Poems by T. S. Eliot

I don’t remember all the CDs; some George Thorogood and the destroyers, some Led Zeppelin, some The Who, some Leonard Cohen, obviously. 

I think that would still be a fair shopping list. What would you bring?

Brass Leftovers

When I was in seventh grade I was in band. Thinking back on it now, choosing an instrument was a lot of pressure. I mean, this was a decision you would be stuck with until you graduated high school, unless you dropped out of band.

I was a shy kid. I didn’t like to say shit if I had a mouthful, so I ended up on the French horn. 

I didn’t want the French horn; it’s not a cool instrument. I wanted the flute or the clarinet, something that the popular girls played. A woodwind. Or even the drums, if I could have coped with being a girl on drums. I probably could not. 

The French horn was like a slap in the face. Still, I learned it. I played it. I oiled it and emptied the spit. But more because I felt obligated to do so than out of any prticular love for the instrument. I chose band, and I kept my mouth shut until all the cool instruments were taken in second hour. I got the leftover French horn that no one wanted.

I almost feel guilty about it now; I’m sure the French horn wanted to be cool as much as I did. I’m sure it wanted to be wanted. 

My band teacher wrote in my yearbook that she hoped to see me back the next year, that she needed me. I switched to art and never looked back. 

Tues Truthiness at TBP 

Musically Challenged

Today’s Daily Prompt:

What sort of music was played in your house when you were growing up? What effect, (if any) did it have on your musical tastes?

My parents didn’t play music when I was growing up. I had a record player:  

But we didn’t have a radio in the house until my mom married my stepdad when I was eleven, and we didn’t have a car with an FM radio until I was twelve. We also didn’t have MTV until I was twelve, but by then, I had a radio in my room and was working on my cassette tape collection, which grew to an umanageable volume by the time I graduated high school and moved out.

It’s hard to say what effect the lack of music at home had on my taste in music, as it’s one of those things that you don’t know you’re missing because you’ve never known it. 

I did eventually notice the lack, when all of my friends’ homes had fancy sound systems. But we had hundreds of books, and no one else had that many. I think that had a bigger effect on me; it’s still hard to trust someone who doesn’t own books. I mean, books.

It may have affected my current appreciation for music; I do love to listen to Pandora while I’m cooking or writing or folding laundry, but mostly EDM or Fleetwood Mac, neither of which were incredibly popular in my teens. 

30 Day Writing Challenge: Days 20-22

Day 20: Post about three celebrity crushes.

  1. Paul Rudd. He’s so dreamy.
  2. Michael Wincott. He has a super amazing voice. If he recorded audio books that’s all I would ever listen to.
  3. Ruby Rose. Had to throw her in there because Ian’s afraid she will steal me away from him.

Day 21: What three lessons do you want your children to learn from you?

Yeah, I’m gonna take a pass on this one. That whole infertility thing, you know?

Day 22: Put your music on shuffle and post the first ten songs.

Weeelllll, I don’t have any music to put on shuffle. First ten songs from my favorite Pandora station? Okay.

  1. Paging Stereophonic, Bassnectar
  2. Sluggin, Ricky Remedy
  3. Spaceman (Carnage Festival Trap Remix), Hardwell
  4. Starve the Ego, Feed the Soul, The Glitch Mob
  5. Hot Right Now (Bassnectar Remix), Bassnectar
  6. One Click Headshot, Feed Me
  8. The Drift, Blackmill

My bad, the app I have only queues up eight.

On the Road Again

Sroad triptaring out the car window, Olivia continued humming along, her head pulsing to the rhythm. She and her father had cleared the city about 20 minutes before; the seemingly endless sight of buildings, row houses, strip malls, concrete and asphalt finally giving way to nothing but empty rolling hills of grass and the straight line of highway stretching out in front of them. It felt like all that crap was actually going to be left far behind.

“Where are we headed, baby girl?” her dad asked. Olivia was the navigator for this escape. She pulled her gaze from the window and focused on the maps app on her phone.

“Um, State Highway 106 north to Wallisburg Falls, and then on to Sioux Falls, Dad.”

“Lots of falls on this trip. Are we on the lam because you have problems with your balance, Liv?” he laughed.

“Very funny, Pops.” Olivia sighed and turned her attention back to the window and the empty grasslands rolling by. Not even a stray dog to capture her attention. Her father was still chuckling to himself as she closed her eyes and leaned her head back to lose herself in her thoughts.

Olivia listened to the tempo the pouring rain beat on the roof above her head, her boyfriend Hector’s bluegrass record playing softly from the living room. What a poser, she thought to herself as he flipped the record to listen to the other side. He’d only taken up bluegrass nine days ago. Before that, it was ska. Before ska, a blessedly short stint of folk punk. She blew him off when he tried to explain that he was finding himself through exploring lesser known musical genres. 

The record started to skip, playing the same two notes over and over. Olivia put up with it until she couldn’t take it anymore, and screamed at Hector to turn that off before she stabbed him in the eye. He paid her no mind. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath before getting up from the bed. A short sharp scream distracted her, and she took a step to the window to look out and see what she could see. She gasped. Peeking through the window, her surprise turned to horror as she realized what she was actually seeing.

Hector was lying on the ground with a knife sticking out of his eye socket.

The car hit a bump in the road, making the CD skip and forcing Olivia to come shuddering back to the present. She slapped the radio, turning it off. That song sounded too much like Hector’s stupid bluegrass. Too close for comfort.

“Good morning, sleepyhead,” her dad smiled at her.

Olivia grunted in response. “Where are we? And why were you listening to a CD anyway instead of the radio? You can’t get news reports from prerecorded music, Dad.”

“I haven’t heard a thing all night, Liv. Got sick of waiting, so I put the Bee Gees in. Because we’re staying alive,” he winked at her. “Not like poor old Hector.”

“Stop the car. Now!” she screamed.

Olivia threw the door open before the car was stopped and vomited on the shoulder. She hung on the door, breathing heavily, hair swinging in her face. Finally, she sat up and glared at her father.

“Don’t ever say his name. Not ever.” The fire in her eyes spoke volumes more than her words.

“Lighten up, Liv. You know it’s not the first time we’ve had to move quick. Remember Marcus?” He gave her a pointed look.

“Marcus got what was coming to him, Dad. It’s not the same thing at all, and you know it. How long until we get to South Dakota?” she asked.

“Another hour or so. Maybe less if I could get back on the road. You done puking?”

Olivia slammed the door and threw her head back against the headrest. “Lay on, MacDuff.”

Her father handed her a napkin to wipe her face as he pulled back onto the road and floored it.

Wednesday Stories: Road Trip