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"This is the most exciting day of my life...and I was pulled on stage once to dance at a Bruce Springsteen concert."
30 Rock


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Tuesday, November 30, 2004

All Mixed Up

On the eve of conferences, I found myself doing what any self-respecting, burned out first year teacher would do.

I started sifting through my mix tapes.

Let me backtrack a bit and say that for me, music has always been quite therapeutic. I can't play any instruments, although I do currently have a keyboard in the basement collecting dust. I also can't read music, although I've tried off and on over the years. But I did used to religiously write poems of sorts, planning out the music in my head. At age 12, I think I hoped I was some sort of undiscovered afficionado. I longed to be like my writing/producing idol, David Foster. I know, I was a huge dork.

Although the song writing is but a memory and I don't stalk Foster nearly as much, the desire to make the "perfect mix tap" has stayed with me through the years.

Understand that the mix tape itself has evolved as well. When I say "Mix tape" for instance, you know what I mean. My class of third graders, however, might look at me as if I was crazy. My feeling is this: whether it's tapes, records, 8-tracks or hell, something they haven't invented yet, music still, as Madonna says, makes the people come together.

For the past four years or so, my sweet tooth for all things music has grown into the art of downloading. I know it's "wrong" but I'll be the first to say it; "God Bless Downloading!" Since it's wonderful introduction into my life, I haven't purchased a single album.

I have historically found that I make most of my mixes when I'm one of two things: bored or stressed. I have endless mix tapes under my bed, in my closet, in drawers etc. Stuff like Love Songs Mix 1, Love Songs Mix 2 and so on. I even started getting creative near the end after running out of inventive mixes. That's when things like the Fun Mix were born. On top of all of that I have EVERY MONTH from January 1989-2001 cataloged on tape, give or take a few.

I am so not kidding.

But gone are the twenty-four song or so mixes and it's place are 160 + cds. For awhile I've been deciding that I really should go ahead and put all of my stuff on cds because eventually tapes will be obselete and then, well, I'll be sorry.

There is no good time to take on such a huge process, but here are a few reasonable suggestions:

When you have a week off
Holiday break
Summer vacation

Here's the time not to do it:

When you have tons of other things to do. Things that deal with deadlines. Things that deal with children. Things like I had.

In my defense, I must say I really was ahead of the game lesson planning wise. Could I have looked ahead at a few things? Sure. But I also look at it like this. Making the perfect mix tape is my way of putting order to things. I don't know what it is, but I know I have a compulsive need at times to organize things that be organized. Especially at 6:45pm on a Sunday night. But once I'm on a roll I'm like Britney Spears's career, inexcusably hard to stop.

But wait, it gets worse.

Not only do I download all the songs I currently do not have on CD, I hem and haw over the process.

Do I want the live or studio recording of Elton John's "Candle In The Wind?"
How could I have never dowloaded Toni Basil's "Mickey" before?
Why in the hell can't I get a decent copy of "Money For Nothing?!"

Finally, a little before 8:00 pm on Sunday night I was able to pry myself away from the project. But of couse, not without downloading a good portion of pop culture up to the year 1999. At the very least, Prince would be proud.

For those of you who made it to this point, I still haven't parted with any tapes or cds...that's far too big an undertaking. You know, something to save until the end of the second marking period.



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