2017 > 2016

Let’s face it, 2016 has been a big, festering wound of a year.

My personal stuff is well-covered territory: My mom died. My job changed dramatically. Really, when you think about it, those are really hefty things and the fact that I am sitting here at 12:15 am on December 27 in my sister’s living room and not a complete puddle of tears is an accomplishment in its own right.

Beyond the personal dramas, there’s a whole slew of collective world stuff that has been weighing on all of us. Syria. Brexit. Small-scale terrorist attacks that maimed and killed hundreds and threaten our daily routines. North Korea. A divisive and horrid U.S. election cycle. Donald Trump being elected. More celebrity deaths than any of us want to count (David Bowie, Prince, Leonard Cohen, and just yesterday, George Michael – are you kidding me?). Zika virus. It’s A LOT to handle.

But here we are, December 27, on the verge of a new year. Like everyone, I’ve got my goals for the year. Among them:

  • Train for and run my first half marathon in five years
  • Lose weight
  • Travel to Australia to see Shelia and Wales to visit Caroline and Lee
  • Go to Denver and see Red Rocks
  • My first Montana trip to see Libby
  • Send a letter or card a week
  • Write at least one blog post a week
  • Conduct a massive, soul-cleansing closet purge (trust me, this one is LONG overdue – there are clothes and shoes in there that just shouldn’t be)
  • Maybe go on date or two
  • Reduce the amount of Sugar Free Red Bull and Coke that I drink
  • Go to 125 concerts in a year
  • Get back into taking real photos

My list is probably too long and someone, somewhere will tell me that I should pick one or two of them and focus on small goals. But that’s not the way I want to do it. I either want to win big and revel in glory or fail just as spectacularly and learn from my mistakes. That’s a bit out of character for me, but something in me broke in 2016 (and it’s a good thing), and it’s time for me to stop living on the sidelines of my own life.

People say to me all the time, “You have the best life.” They say that because they see the world through the lens of my Facebook and Instagram pages. Pictures of concerts and cocktails and me out with friends, posts about bands that I love, and my adorable nephew, and things that bring smiles and happiness. And I do love all those parts of my life.

But I think that for a lot of people – including me – only show the world the highlight reel on social media. You see all the good stuff, and none of the bad stuff. Most of those people that tell me I have “the best life” don’t realize that I probably go to 75% of those shows by myself. That I see the staff and the bartenders at my favorite venues more than I see my friends. What most people don’t realize is that I am scared to death 99.9% of the time about what other people think of me. People don’t see that when I’m at home, I curl up in the corner of my couch wearing leggings and sweatshirts and eat salt and vinegar potato chips and watch endless reruns of The Big Bang Theory. I’m lonely, but I have built freaking fortresses around myself to keep from getting hurt (and that, my friends, keeps people out). Half the time, I’m sitting there berating myself that I should be doing something … running or cleaning my closet or reading or writing something. But I haven’t done ANY OF IT. Because I’m so frightened of winning or failing or anything other than things that keep me on an even keel.

And I’m tired of it. So, in 2017, I’m going to change it, and it starts with that great big list of things I want to do. Writing it down and putting it out there in the world is my version of Andy Dufresne’s “Get busy living or get busy dying.” It’s here now. For everyone to see. So there’s no turning back (because now you all know that I worry about what you think of me).

Maybe it’s hopeless optimism, stupidity, or perhaps even that Liz Gilbert book I’m reading, but I feel like even if that checklist above has zero checkmarks on December 31, 2017, 2017 is still going to be a good year. I feel it in my gut.

We’re all due for one, don’t you think?

The Life Part of Music.Love.Life.

The thing I love about my little “Music.Love.Life” tagline (one day the URL will free up and I’ll nab it) is that it means multiple things to me.  Usually on this blog, you guys see one side:  music being a big part of my life. But today’s post isn’t about music.

The “life” part of the tag exists for other reasons, too.

Sixteen years ago today, I fell.  Hit my head.  Pretty hard. (I know, it explains a lot.) Walked around for a few days with a pretty bad headache. Went to the doctor when it wouldn’t go away.  Had a fun little CAT scan, followed by an even more fun ride on a state trooper helicopter.  Too bad I don’t remember that part – by that time, they had me loaded up on pain medication.

See, when I fell, I gave my noggin’ a pretty good shake.  Enough to sheer some blood vessels that caused some blood to leak out and put extra pressure on my brain (hence, the headache).  All the paperwork says “Epidural hematoma,” but my Dad swears it was subdural (he’s a doc, saw the CAT scan).  Either way, same kind of effect.  Made me a little wonky, and required some drilling into my skull to get that blood off and relieve the pressure. Over that week in the hospital, I learned how serious my injury was and how lucky I was … I had a great neurosurgeon, amazing nurses, and family, friends and sorority sisters that were by my side the whole time.

I was 21 when it happened, in the middle of my senior year of college.   Although I was back at school in two weeks (with half of my hair missing!), the whole thing changed my life.  I vowed to reconcile with people I’d had issues with, I promised myself I’d live every day, love my family and friends more, etc., etc.  And I did.  Hell, me mending fences with someone I’d loathed since high school resulted in us dating and me moving to North Carolina.

But sixteen years later, I find myself sitting here on the anniversary of my fall and realizing that I’ve forgotten that resolution to live life to its fullest. The past couple of years have stressed me out to the point where I don’t even recognize myself some days.  Yes, I go out, I do things, I live, I have fun…but more often than not, my brain is working overtime thinking about other things. Work, Mom’s illness, friend drama, lack of a love life, lack of money … Instead of living, I’ve been worrying, stressing, being angry, being hurt, being sad … and I need to stop. Now. It’s not me.

I need to get back to the Krissie that laid in that hospital bed for a week, dreaming of all the things I was going to be, the fears I was going to conquer, the people I was going to love, and the adventures I was going to have if I could just get out of there.

My dear friend Stacy gave me the coffee mug pictured above for my birthday. “Live with passion” is on one side.  The other says  “The universe knows.”  Something about that mug made Stacy think of me…I’d like to think it’s because she knows me and knows that if I’m going to do anything, I do it all the way.  But maybe she gave it to me as a reminder because she’s watched me fall into this rut.  And as I sit here, looking at the mug, I’ve decided it’s my new motto.

“Live with passion.”

Life’s too short not to.

A birthday wish…and the present is for you!

It’s now 12:47 AM, August 3rd.  Officially my birthday.  37.  Damn.

My friends, who I adore, keep asking me what I want to do to celebrate and this year … well, frankly, I feel like I’ve been given a lot already.  My mom beating cancer, for one.  Getting closer with my family over the last year. Truly amazing friends who are supportive, creative, hilarious, and bring all sorts of goodness to my life.  A good year at work.  I honestly have everything I could possibly want or need.

So I started thinking…what would I do if I had extra birthday wishes?  Beyond health and happiness for everyone that I love, what are the things that make me happiest?  And the answer was easy:  Music.

I have taken so much joy, love, comfort, camraderie, strength, inspiration, hope and happiness from music.  I wish there was a way I could give back to all of the artists whose songs have done this for me.  I try to find ways to do it…they are small, but I like to think every once in awhile I make a difference. It will never balance out, though.  It always seems like I’ll take more than I’m ever able to give back.

If you’re not into music, let me tell you this:  it is not easy to be a musician these days.  There are more artists than ever fighting for a piece of the pie.  Audiences listen to a greater number of artists than they’ve ever listened to – and that also means their dollars are divided up into smaller amounts for each artist.  If you ask me, I think the days of the superstar musician are over.  We’ll never see another Michael Jackson again.  Musicians now are like the rest of us, going out there and making music just to earn a living.  Yet music is the one “consumable” that no one wants to pay for.  We think we’re entitled to get it for free. Honestly, how fair is that?  Do we expect to walk into a Best Buy and just be able to pick a Wii up off the shelf for free?  Then, add in touring costs.  Think about it – my car costs $43 to fill up; what do you think a six-passenger van costs to fuel and maintain? Add in food, lodging, and equipment costs (guitar strings are NOT cheap!), and the fact that on a Tuesday night in East Bijip, North Carolina you might play for an audience of 20 people, and have to split the cover charge with the opening band.  Then there are the costs of making a record (studio time, getting it pressed, art, photography), promoting yourself, and buying merchandise which you hopefully can sell back and maybe make a buck or two for every CD or t-shirt you sell. Add up all of this and you can see how being a musician must really be a labor of love – because most artists aren’t making money.  Most are losing it.  To make music.  For you to listen to.

Which brings me to my birthday wish.  One of my favorite bands of all time – Alpha Rev – is making a new EP.  They’re doing it on their own.  No record label support.  Just a bunch of guys making music because they love it and they want their fans to hear it.  And they do make beautiful music.  Music with meaning, heart, emotion and depth.  They’ve asked their fans to help fund the record, and they are 81% of the way to their goal.  They’ve got 26 days left to raise the rest of the money, or they lose it all.

So…that’s what I want for my birthday.  I want Alpha Rev to reach their goal.  It’s a selfish wish, really, because in the end, I get new Alpha Rev music.  But it’s also a gift to you.  Because if you help them, they’re going to give you their music.  It’s a totally win-win situation. Oh, one more thing (they’re just that awesome of a group), the guys are also giving part of the money they raise to two charities (read more about them here).  So I guess that makes it a win-win-win.

Can you help me make my birthday wish come true?  Check out Alpha Rev’s Pledge Music page. Give ’em a few bucks.  It’ll be the best birthday present ever.  I swear.

You’re A Friend of Mine

A very large part of my heart belongs to a man named Bruce Springsteen and his band, a little group of folks we like to call E Street.  Bruce and E Street were my first true loves.  So when Clarence Clemons passed away nearly two weeks ago, I wept.  Bruce and the band have been such a huge part of my life for so very long that it was like losing a friend.  A legendary, sax-shredding friend.

And then today, the Springsteen camp published the text of Bruce’s eulogy for Clarence and I found myself in tears again.  I cannot profess to fathom the depth of their 40-year friendship, but the feeling of loss that Bruce’s words convey is palpable.  And the thing that makes it so human – so real – is that Bruce makes it perfectly clear that Clarence wasn’t perfect, and that neither is Bruce…but that their friendship could have surmounted any odds, because…well, that’s what friends do.  They see you for who you really are and love the hell out of you for every single one of your flaws.

If you don’t want to read the full text of the eulogy, here are some of my favorite parts.

Today I see his sons Nicky, Chuck, Christopher and Jarod sitting here and I see in them the reflection of a lot of C’s qualities. I see his light, his darkness, his sweetness, his roughness, his gentleness, his anger, his brilliance, his handsomeness, and his goodness. But, as you boys know your pop was a not a day at the beach. “C” lived a life where he did what he wanted to do and he let the chips, human and otherwise, fall where they may. Like a lot of us your pop was capable of great magic and also of making quite an amazing mess. This was just the nature of your daddy and my beautiful friend. Clarence’s unconditional love, which was very real, came with a lot of conditions. Your pop was a major project and always a work in progress. “C” never approached anything linearly, life never proceeded in a straight line. He never went A… B…. C…. D. It was always A… J…. C…. Z… Q… I….! That was the way Clarence lived and made his way through the world. I know that can lead to a lot of confusion and hurt, but your father also carried a lot of love with him, and I know he loved each of you very very dearly.

Standing next to Clarence was like standing next to the baddest ass on the planet. You were proud, you were strong, you were excited and laughing with what might happen, with what together, you might be able to do. You felt like no matter what the day or the night brought, nothing was going to touch you. Clarence could be fragile but he also emanated power and safety, and in some funny way we became each other’s protectors; I think perhaps I protected “C” from a world where it still wasn’t so easy to be big and black. Racism was ever present and over the years together, we saw it. Clarence’s celebrity and size did not make him immune. I think perhaps “C” protected me from a world where it wasn’t always so easy to be an insecure, weird and skinny white boy either. But, standing together we were badass, on any given night, on our turf, some of the baddest asses on the planet. We were united, we were strong, we were righteous, we were unmovable, we were funny, we were corny as hell and as serious as death itself. And we were coming to your town to shake you and to wake you up. Together, we told an older, richer story about the possibilities of friendship that transcended those I’d written in my songs and in my music.

I try to be good about telling my friends that I love them, doing things to let them know how important they are to me, even if it’s just hanging out and having a beer.  But even though I try, I know I don’t do it enough.  So I just wanted to tell you all here, publicly, that I love you, and thank you for loving me and all my faults, even when I’m not so easy to love.  Because when I’m standing next to you gals and guys (and you know who you are), we are some of the baddest asses on the planet.  You fill my life with laughter, adventures, heart, joy, support, hangovers, personalized Sharpies, music, passions (both shared and individual), in-depth discussions on just about anything on earth, shoulders to cry on, hands to hold, and most of all, love.

Thank you for the gifts of you…Here’s to us.

The Greatest Mix Tapes Ever Made (?)

I came home from work tonight to a little package slip in my mailbox.  As I went to the office to collect it, I had no idea what it could be.  Thanks to teenage years spent writing to over 7 dozen pen pals, I don’t think I will ever tire of the thrill of getting something unexpected in the mailbox.

The package was a thick, padded envelope from my friend Fred in Colorado.  Fred and I have a unique friendship – about a year ago, he left a comment here on one of my blog posts about an artist we both really like (okay, Fred really likes, I’m obsessed with…whatever).  Since then, we’ve traded e-mails and music and stories about music…Kindred spirits across the miles.  So it’s only appropriate that Fred’s belated Christmas gift to me, wrapped in that padded envelope, was a hard cover book entitled Cassette From My Ex:  Stories and Soundtracks of Lost Love.  It’s a book full of short stories about relationships and the mix tapes they spawned.  And it’s AWESOME.  I’ve been reading it all night, engrossed in other people’s memories, love, heartbreak and music.  And it got me to thinking about my own mix tapes.

Yes, I still have them.  Actual cassette tapes.  Several boxes, to be completely honest, buried at the bottom of my little storage unit.  So what better time to dig them out than at 9 PM on a Wednesday night in January?  Most of them are tapes that I made myself – for roadtrips, for lost loves, for periods of time in my life.  But there are a handful made by others for me.  More than a mix CD could ever be, a mix tape took work.  You couldn’t make a playlist and listen to it on your iPod a few times before making it permanent.  There was an art to it – planning, plotting, handwriting, naming it (the name was always a painstaking and extremely creative and witty aspect for me) designing a cover – usually by hand, because not everyone had a computer and printer in their house then. Oh, yes, getting a mix tape from someone was a big deal.

In my box of mix tapes, there are four that are in contention for the title of greatest mix tapes ever made.  I’m going to take a page out of this fabulous book and write about these epic masterpieces…and even give you the track lists.   Names have been changed to protect the innocent.  Feel free to share your favorite mix tape moments and track lists in the comments.  I love to hear other people’s overly sentimental sides come out. 🙂

#4.  M’s Mix for Krissie
I couldn’t wait to go to college.  College, for me, represented a million worlds of promise, learning and writing (at the time, I fancied that I would someday be a famous novelist).  So when I got my freshman year roommate assignment, the first thing I did was write to my roommates.  Yes, as in old fashioned letter write – e-mail was yet to be released upon the world.  I had two – and one of them, I’ll call her M.,  I knew would be an instant friend.  How?  She responded to my letter with a mix tape.  The cover, now faded, was a brightly, multi-colored, bubble lettered version of my name, surrounded by red – a representation of her personality?  The song list was even better, part 1992 frozen in time, part exotic – I’d been weaned on Springsteen and Bon Jovi – who was this Meatloaf person?, and part high expectation about the fun college would bring.  And our freshman year did bring fun, loads of laughter, incessant crushes on boys, my first drinking experiences (I didn’t drink in high school), and my first real heartaches – both in breaking someone’s heart and having mine broken.  M. was a very large part of that, and there were many mixes swapped during that year…the soundtrack to our first year of independence, in Minta Martin 413, will always be filled with Simon and Garfunkel’s “Cecelia” and KWS’s “Please Don’t Go” in my mind.  But, that first mix tape, the one she sent before we ever met, will always be the most epic, and the songs will always represent the excitement about going away to school.

Epilogue: M and I were on and off close throughout college; she spent some time abroad, and left school for awhile.  We stayed in touch up until a few years ago; I’ve tried to reconnect with her on Facebook without any luck.  I guess some friendships are just meant to be in your life for short periods of time.

The track list:  (My cassette player is buried in the closet outside, so I’ll have to apologize – I don’t know all of the artists) Side A: Something To Talk About – Bonnie Raitt / Can’t Stop This Thing – Bryan Adams / Let’s Go – ? /You Make My Dreams – Hall and Oates / Fool In the Rain – Led Zeppelin / I Want Action – Poison / Deeper Shade Of Soul – Urban Dance Squad / Move This – Technotronic / Jump – The Movement / Motown Philly – Boyz II Men / Everything About You – Ugly Kid Joe  // Side B:  Divine Thing – The Soup Dragons / To Be With You – Mr. Big / Paradise by the Dashboard Light – Meatloaf / Stand – REM / Cheeseburger in Paradise – Jimmy Buffet / Apron Strings – Everything But the Girl (?) / Better – ? / Signs – Tesla / Just One Look – ? / Total Eclipse of the Heart – Bonnie Tyler / Walk Away from Love – ?

# 3.  [Whited Out Title]
Perhaps the most infuriatingly titled mix CD ever, given to me by my ex-senior in high school love interest, at-the-time-recently-reacquired-friend (we’ll call him BFF) and not-so-secret crush during “our summer.”  The title was literally whited out, leaving me to wonder if he’d named it something and whited it out to make me insane with wonder or if it had just been the only tape he’d had lying around and it already had something on the title space.  I shall never know.  BFF was, and remains to this day, the most interesting person I know.  He’s ridiculously creative (later CD mix covers would be elaborate displays of his graphic design schooling), peaceably rebellious, has a bizarre and eclectic musical taste – this is the man whose favorite band was Queen long before Wayne and Garth made it cool, who practically forced Hootie and the Blowfish down my throat before they were cool, and who loves rap, punk and strange German house music, and who loved to torture me with our not-so-subtle infatuations with each other. We spent the entire summer between my sophomore and junior years together, rather inseparable; when we weren’t at work, we were together (and sometimes, one of us was hanging out at the place where the other worked), and we spent many nights driving aimlessly around in our boring little county, doing nothing but talking and wasting perfectly good .89 cent-a-gallon gas in my 1983 Toyota Tercel, eating the same exact things at least three times a week at our local 24-hour diner, or just sitting in one driveway or another talking.  This was the first of two mix tapes from that summer – and it is a perfect reflection of BFF, with just enough buried message in the lyrics that made me fall even further in love with him.  I played it so much that the last time I listened to it a few years ago, the tape was so worn that it got caught up in the heads ever few minutes and I had to stop it and rewind it manually with a pencil.

Epilogue: See #1.

Track List: Side A:  Intro – (Cryptically titled Guess Who on the track list) Snoop Dogg / Close to You – Saigon Kick / It’s Like That – US3 / Calling You – George Michael / Connected – The Stereo MCs / Dust in the Wind – Kansas / Until I Fall Away – The Gin Blossoms / Interstate Love Song – Stone Temple Pilots / Being Around – The Lemonheads / Push Th’ Little Daisies – Ween / Light – KMFDM / She’s A Beauty – The Tubes / Bijou – Queen // Side B:  Last Acoustic Remains – Hollywood Basics / Speed – Alpha Team / One for the Road – House of Pain / Epic – Faith No More / Silvergun Superman – Stone Temple Pilots / Too Much Love Will Kill You – Brian May / Dinner Bell – They Might Be Giants / No Reply At All – Genesis / Gin & Juice – Snoop Dogg / Nevermore – Queen / The March of the Black Queen – Queen / Sabotage – The Beastie Boys / Ode to Tipper Gore – Warrant

#2. Time Stand Still (With a Little 70s Retro)
Enter the Internet.  At the end of my sophomore year, I struck up what would be the first of many online friendships with guys at military schools.  What can I say, I am a sucker for a man in a military uniform. WC was a little ahead of its time with internet access, and I was (and until very recently, still had) a profile on the ISCA BBS, one of the first real active bulletin board systems (an early advent of a chat room).  Soldier Boy (SB), as we’ll call him, and I struck up a conversation one late night and chatted until the wee hours in the morning.  He was a cadet at West Point.  That summer, we wrote letters back and forth as he was away at some training or another.  Our online friendship continued into my junior year and became increasingly flirtatious.  It culminated in a sorority sister and I making a roadtrip to West Point one weekend for a football game, where we spent a weekend hanging out with SB and one of his friends who were on liberty or whatever you wanted to call it.  The attraction between SB and I was obvious, and we continued a relationship for several months, with him coming to visit me at school, and us meeting up at the Army-Navy game in Philadelphia for a weekend.  Our visits were intense and fueled by a steady diet of overly-sappy hair metal ballads.  The mix, which he gave me during our weekend in Philly, and which we played over and over again (it would turn out to be the last time I saw him), has a hastily scrawled note inside the cover that says, “This is pretty random!  Time Stand Still has the best lyrics.  Listen…It’s so true!  The innocence slips away… – SB.” Truer words were never spoken.

Epilogue: SB and I actually stayed in random touch on and off over the years, usually when one of us was lonely and searching for someone to tell us we were special.  In 2004 (or around there) he got married and invited me to the wedding – not sure if it was a “thanks for being a friend” invite or a “ha ha, I’m getting married and you aren’t.”  Whichever it was, I could never have mustered the nerve to go. I’ve heard from him maybe two times since then and we may or may not be friends on Facebook.

Track List: Side A:  Time Stand Still – Rush / You Learn – Alanis Morrisette / Love Hurts – Nazareth / Don’t Cry – Seal / How Deep Is Your Love – The Bee Gees / Forbidden Love – Madonna & Babyface / Naked – Goo Goo Dolls // Side B:  Can’t Fight This Feeling – REO Speedwagon / Wonderwall – Oasis / Slow Ride – Foghat / Standing Outside a Broken Phone Booth With Money in My Hand – Primitive Radio Gods / Broken Wings – Mr. Mister / The Night Is Still Young – Billy Joel / Have You Ever Needed Somebody – Def Leppard

# 1. Moths & Flies:  The Hits
Oh, BFF.  Back to our summer.  It was a strange summer.  While we spent a lot of time together, he did have a girlfriend back at school, and I spent the summer dating a random assortment of guys.   He made a comment one night, when I said I was going out with one of them, that I was like Motel 6 – I left a light on and attracted moths.  And although he had a girlfriend, there was always some girl interested in him, so I responded that if that were me, he had to be a fly strip.  It was a silly analogy, but it stuck, and so was aptly named the end-of-summer mix he gave me.  In a completely romantic teen-comedy angst inspired ending, he kissed me in my front yard the night before I left to go back to school, and then used our high school secret one-ring “call me back” code later that night – and I didn’t call him back (in my defense:  he hadn’t used it all summer, and I was sure it was a wrong number).  For the next several months, this tape got played over and over – alternating with Hootie & The Blowfish’s record, which I also played incessantly – while I was back at school, not-so-subtly pining away over him (there were many alcohol-fueled answering machine messages of love left that fall), and overanalyzing the “coded messages” in the songs, the lyrics, whatever.  I’m a girl, what can I say.

Epilogue: BFF and I never have gotten together, although we’ve had on-and-off moments over the years where I think we have both contemplated the idea, but none too recently.  He’s been way more successful on the relationship front then I have.  When I’m sad and lonely, I write him and bemoan my single status, and he tells me to get over it, and I remind him that he is my model for the type of guy I want in my life.  I think this alternately flatters him and scares the bejesus out of him.  We remain friends, even if we don’t talk that often.

Track List: Side A:  Vasoline – Stone Temple Pilots / Thunder Kiss ’65 (Remix) – White Zombie / B-Boys Makin’ With the Freak – Beastie Boys / Selfish – Ned’s Atomic Dustbin / Alison’s Starting to Happen – The Lemonheads / O-o-h Child – The Posies / Dear Friends – Queen / Pump Pump – Snoop Doggy Dogg / Who Was In My Room Last Night – The Butthole Surfers / I Wanna Be Sedated – The Ramones / What I Like About You – The Romantics / Apart – The Cure / Love U More – Sun Screem / She’s Actual Size – They Might Be Giants // Side B:  Mary Jane’s Last Dance – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers / A Drug Against War – KMFDM / Feels So Good – Chuck Mangione / The More You Ignore Me – Morissey / Jump – The Movement / Plush (Acoustic) – Stone Temple Pilots / Break ‘Em Off Some – Cypress Hill / President Garfield – Julianna Hatfield 3/ Liebeslied – KMFDM / Satellite – Elvis Costello

Whew.  That was a trip down memory lane.  I’m plum worn out now, but smiling.  I may be a sentimental fool, but it’s good to know that there are enough other sentimental fools out there, and ones that love music at that, to compile a whole book on the subject.  And, to the Ms, SBs and BFFs of the world, thanks for caring enough to make the mix tapes.  You have probably long since forgotten them, but they will live on – in my storage unit and in my memory – for eternity.