Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Reincarnation of the Mix Tape.

When I was younger and wanted to create a mix of various music, there wasn't a MacBook or iTunes to turn to. I used my trusty Sony boom box, which housed two cassettes - fancy, huh? I would either tape off of the radio, or from one tape to another. I would sit in front of my largesse sound system for hours (the bigger the better - kindof how we viewed our hair back then), listening to the radio, waiting for the perfect song to come along.

This was no easy feat, if you remember. Timing was everything. No mix tape was perfect, which made it special. Some songs were cut off by a millisecond, or there was a few mumblings from an overenthusiastic DJ. Sometimes radio jingles unapologetically interrupted the final seconds of a tune. Almost every tape I made had one song that was cut off halfway through, because that side ran out of tape. Regardless, when receiving a mix tape, these flaws did not matter. Making a mix tape was work, like baking a cake or sewing a skirt. Time consuming, but worth it for the final product (even if it did have a few screw-ups). I'm not the only person who will back up the importance of mix tapes and youth - read some of the works by Rob Sheffield and Chuck Klosterman.

The artwork was also an integral part of the finished product. Listing tracks on the insert that came with the tape was just as important. The choice of ink, style of handwriting, general artwork and title of the tape were all integral components. I once made a tape in middle school that I titled "Yo Tengo Espiderman in Mis Pantalones" - yes, that roughly translates to I have Spider-Man in my Pants. How I came up with that title is beyond me, but I was one of those children who marched to the beat of her own drum.

With that said, I no longer make mix tapes. Along with the rest of the population, I use iTunes to create a mix. Its made in a fraction of the time, and it can utilized on your computer, iPod, iPhone, iPad or whatever other iDevices you utilize.  Although, over the last few years, I barely even do that. With the constant upgrading of technology, I have only put about fifty albums on my new computer. The 1,000+ CDs at home have yet to be added, as it takes too much time. 

Now wait, you'd think that since I'm unemployed that I could complete such a task! Well, in all honesty, uploading them can be a tedious process and I am not going to sit at my computer any more than I do at the moment. Maybe in the summer I'll do something with them. Lately, I have turned to Spotify, which has millions of songs uploaded on their servers, for my musical enjoyment.

One of my most recent playlists is called her royal midgeness revisits her youth. Not to toot my own horn, but its a small, yet decent collection of various artists I grew up listening to. There are no Beatles/Beatles members songs available on here, but that just might be because I have the free version (unemployed people can't spend money on cool things like Spotify), but I have a feeling it has to do with licensing. Either way, I'm not complaining! Its like a never-ending digital mix tape. I can add songs to it when I feel like it, which is nice. You can make a plethora of playlists, which can be shared with friends. Enjoying a random individual's playlist? You can subscribe to it. Plus, its free. Free is always good, especially when its something useful. Check it out next time you're perusing the 'net.

Happy listening,

Photo Courtesy of Anthony Michael Forte

Always a First Time for Everything.

Starting off a blog for the first time is rather awkward. Similar to the first day of school, or starting a new job. You stand there, wave awkwardly, and introduce yourself, hoping that the folks in front of you don't think you're the ultimate goober.

Hi, I'm Michele. 

There is usually a catalyst for people to embark on a new adventure or project. I have two. I am turning thirty this year, which, at the thought, is exciting and scary at the same time. The second reason was being fired from my job after nine and a half years. Believe it or not, the latter was far more traumatizing.

You are probably thinking, ooh, this should be good! In reality, its a pretty lame story. Long story short, I said something in hindsight, I probably should not have said. Even though my record was near impeccable, the customer is always right and will get what they want, no matter what. Pretty disheartening, huh? 

I am a fan of change, but only if I am prepared. I was not prepared for what happened. I cried for three days straight and didn't leave the house. When I finally left the house, it was to purchase pink semi-permanent hair dye. Odd? Kindof. Since I was a teenager, my remedy to any situation has never been to chop my hair off - it has been to dye it pink. Its not permanent and feeds my need for something outrageous.

Being fired was good thing, though. I got to spend my twenties working with friends and slowly (but surely) obtained my degree. I am a certified History teacher! Major downfall to this? I am having trouble finding a job, within my field and out in the retail world. Trying to find a job in January, after many businesses excess their holiday help, is brutal, to put it nicely.

Every day I am modifying my resume and creating cover letters. My computer desktop has been engulfed by Word documents within a matter of weeks. I wanted to start this blog weeks ago, but I was so sick of looking at the computer, that I pushed it to the wayside. 

My boyfriend, Erich, said that this was the best thing that could have happened to me. He has encouraged me to be creative and enjoy hobbies that I had put on the back burner. My creativity has consisted of nail art (which I'm pretty good at), doodling with colored pencils, playing an unhealthy amount of Scramble with Friends, experimenting in the kitchen, and spending far too much time browsing Pinterest. I must say, I did get many of my food ideas from here, so it wasn't a lost cause. Oh! I've also been taking pictures on my iPhone 4S (why carry a camera when you can do it with your phone?), which now litter my Instagram account. 

When speaking to one of my oldest friends (who also happened to shred my heart like pulled pork on more than one occasion - i'll save that for another blog entry), he told me to do something I've always wanted to do. Easier said than done. My ultimate dream job is to be a pop culture historian. I didn't major in History because I loved learning about  ancient cultures. I mean, that was a perk of the courses, but I really embarked on this degree because I love music dearly. I had wanted to pursue a job in the music industry, but a friend of mine told me that I had to be spineless to be in the industry. He was right. I was too trusting and naive for the industry.

So, to play it safe, like I always do, I decided to obtain a degree in education. I have always loved to help others, so this was a no-brainer. Teaching has been a fantastic experience. Difficult? Absolutely. Rewarding? Far greater than I ever imagined. I would love to be able to teach students and have them enjoy learning as much as I have, but there is still this part of me that wishes I could spend the rest of my days researching and interviewing individuals regarding popular culture, particularly music.

Hopes, dreams, and sob stories aside, this blog will be a conglomerate of interests - food, articles, photos, fashion, adventures, random stories and whatnot. 

Thank you for reading this rather largesse entry. Hopefully you'll stick around to see what else I have to say!

- Michele