Mix Tapes

Okay–it has come to my attention that I know just enough about technology to enmesh and enmire myself in some rather odd circumstances.

We all know that I love my iPod more and better than any computer geek could love his engorged PC with phallic RAM, but what you may not know is that I’m helpless to operate it any better than my six year old might be.

Case in point: Mix CD’s.

I was very recently gifted by the gods… (okay– I’ll be square… I was gifted by Chris at Stumbling Over Chaos with a most handsome set of Mix CD’s.

Now some of you may know… (Ceri? Are you out there? Darlin’, you’re one of the ones…) that I have a passionate, torrid relationship with the random mix tape. I’ve had mix tapes given to me by students, mix tapes I’ve collected at weddings, mix tapes my children have made for me from the music on the other computer. All of these–every one of them, I tell you, I have put upon my iPod.

Under the artist known as UNTITLED.

Some of you are laughing your asses off right now. Fess up–you know you are. For those of you who are feeling a little befuddled, let me explain. When you import a homemade cd into your computer music program (iTunes for most of us) the names of the songs come up as ‘Untitled’ and the artist as well. (Or maybe it’s unknown. Either way…) Now there is a way to type in the name of the song and the name of the artist. I only recently discovered the first, and have decided not to use the second, and I’m gonna tell you why.

The thing is, I’ve got over four-hundred songs under UNTITLED and UNKNOWN. And the range of the artists is STAGGERING. And now, thanks to Chris, I have even more–with an even more eclectic sound. Now, when I got Chris’s cd’s, I typed in the name of the songs and realized, “Hey–I don’t know how to put these in under cd or to gather them all together in any other way than to keep them under ‘UNKNOWN ARTIST’–and so I did. And then I just started at ‘UNTITLED TRACK 1’–all ten variations, and played down, through every random track one on every random cd that I’ve ever loaded.

The results were… well… enlightening and hilarious at once. Now, in order to understand just how hilarious, you have to understand something about my friends, my students, and my cd collection. My students have no discretion. That’s not just because they’re young, that’s because they attend my school, where telling the teacher that Stalin was a douchebag would get you some decent points in the smarts department. So those mix tapes I got from my kids? OKay… everything from Thunderstruck to We Ain’t Nothin But Mammals to the Tetris song to Ben Fold’s Five and the Abortion Song. All on the same cd, from the same student. I also have a cd that Zoomboy’s teacher gave me last year–fifty-seven songs about Andy the Apple and Percy Preposition and (I shit you not) Vinnie the Volcano. My old VP and I (Teri–Goddess love him–awesome, perfect man) exchanged books for cd’s, and I have a lovely, ethereal collection of Beatles Songs done with a bluegrass lilt. Ceri sent me exclusively Australian artists–have not even HEARD of them (but I adore them) and then we have Chris’s cd’s–buckets of awesome, both of them, but her taste is as eclectic as mine–there’s a song on one of them (the Manlove Mix) called ‘I Fucked Your Boyfriend’ (loved this song, btw) which is a heavy metal masterpiece. There is also a very sweet song called Housewife, and a a bit of Celtic bravado about Ravens and very jazzy song called… well, you get the picture. And then–to make things even MORE interesting… there’s THE EVIL ONE.

I may or may not have mentioned the advent of THE EVIL ONE onto my iPod. Sometime during pregnancy–and the hormones of my fourth pregnancy are the ONLY way I can explain this total lapse of judgment, I bought (and I hide my head in shame at just saying her name in public) a (oh God…) Celine Dion cd. (Don’t hate me! It was the hormones! It said ‘Lullabies’ on it! I knew I was a bad mother, something in me thought I could compensate! I’M SORRY… DON’T KICK ME OUT OF THE COOL KID’S CLUB FOREVER PUUUUHHHHLLEEEEEEEEZZZZZZZZEEE!!!!) So this cd got loaded onto iTunes, but, because it IS the EVIL ONE’S handiwork, it loaded on as (you guessed it!) UNTITLED, and since I only JUST NOW learned how to fix this (and have, btw, misplaced pretty much every cd but Chris and Ceri’s) I live in fear of eradicating THE EVIL ONE’S music, in case I get rid of some of the songs that i have come to treasure, but know only by sound and melody and not by artist and title.

Today, given the advent of new music, I took a trip down UNTITLED LANE.

It was magical, in the same way that peyote is magical–except, you know, safer to do while driving.


AC/DC’s Thunderstruck, followed by Beatles on Bluegrass doing Blackbird, followed by The Evil One (IT BURNS! Press skip NOW!!!) followed by Ben Folds Five, followed by Ain’t Nothin’ But Mammals, followed by I Fucked Your Boyfriend, followed by Vinnie the Volcano. (And if you can imagine the kind of subtext a song called ‘I Fucked Your Boyfriend’ would give a song about Vinne the Volcano, you can see the sort of whipcrack brainlash I was suffering happily through for most of my day.)

It was GLORIOUS. Now see, if I went through and entered all the artists under these songs, they’d never again be listed under UNKNOWN or UNTITLED. All of these songs are UNIQUE (well, except for The Evil One’s) and most of them are artists I have never heard of and–thanks to the wonder of the UNTITLED and UNKNOWN–probably never will. I know that there are ten Track 9’s and fifteen Track 1’s, and (thank Goddess) only one of Tracks 25-57, and other than that, which song is on which track is like flipping a random coin.

This afternoon I sat at a traffic light and Squish told me “The sun is shining and prettiful, Mama. Roll down the windows.”

I did, and watched, bemused, as she slipped her car-seat straps and held her arms out like she was flying from the breeze coming in the windows to the tune of ‘Hide Your Love Away’ done bluegrass style. That song ended and Beastie Boys started ‘Girls’, and both of us put our hands out in front of us and bopped. “Dance, Mom! Dance!” And so I did.

The traffic light started, she put her car seat straps back on, and I continued to bop to ‘Girls’–and then both of us listened intently to see what song would come next.

Because sometimes, when your mind is open to the possibilities, all the things you love really will fit into the same box.

0 thoughts on “Mix Tapes”

  1. Louiz says:

    Lovely, and I'm not laughing. Especially Squish.

  2. Littlewitch says:

    And they thought I was insane cause my playlists have Beethoven followed by Marilyn Manson followed by Christian Kane. Celine Dion, sweet? I'm so gonna have nightmares….

  3. ismarah says:

    There's this little thingambob button in iTunes somewhere – 'Get Info'…

    Should sort out your Untitled Artist issue, IF the song / artist is published.

    But where's the fun in that? :-p

  4. Chris says:

    P.S. It won't surprise you to know that I loved mix tapes, too.

  5. Chris says:

    LMAO! Um, good luck?! If you get this issue resolved, your life is going to be a whole lot less surreal…

    iTunes and I had a brief acquaintance. We hated each other. We parted ways. I use MediaMonkey now, quite happily.

  6. Donna Lee says:

    The random feature on my mp3player is my favorite part. Except for the fact that it includes audio books and all of a sudden you'll hear a serious voice saying "Random House audio presents…."

    My new windows media player (the updated windows 7 one) won't let me save playlists so everything is mixed together.

  7. The truth comes out… You're really one of them.

  8. NeedleTart says:

    Music helps everything. Glad you and Squish are on singing terms again (just keep her out of the chocolate drawer).
    I have "Brains" immediately followed by "You Can't Succeed on Broadway" followed by Pagini. We're all just a bubble off true.

  9. DecRainK says:

    I too (sadly and very ashamedly) have at least ONE Celine Dion song on my iPod. I however can blame my best friend who has very odd tastes like knowing the song title and artist of the song I am listening to, and still manage to get weird ass song mixes like you . . . . I just put my iPod on music all songs and make sure shuffle is on. crazyness often ensues. Its fun :0) heehee

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