Love is a Mixed Tape..

I’m a musical zealot. Music is my life. Whether I’m listening to it, making it, learning it, singing it, or thinking it! It’s everywhere to me.
I feel there are two types of musical listeners: The folks that connect with Lyrics and the folks that connect with the Beat. Ever listened to a song and jammed out to it and later found it that the song meaning was actually really sad…you start thinking: Man, I bust a move to that song but it’s actually pretty depressing! When I purchase a new album I will actually take out the liner notes and READ the entire book. I usually have a few picked out that I have already connected with lyrically. Then I take a listen.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday I was asked to create a compilation of music for a friend.
I blue print everything. My whole life is a blue print. Naturally, I blue printed a track listing. This got me thinking…How do you create a mixed cd?

I feel there is a science to the whole Mix Cd process. I start with who I am creating for…What do I want to say to this person via music? Another way to look at this is: What is the theme of this mixture? For example: Are we doing: Best Covers Compilation, What am I Currently Listening, or are we doing a standard Best of [insert band name here]?

I think of all of these items before sitting at my computer to start. I do a free association exercise [pardon my psych major tendencies]…just a mash of things that come to mind, random songs and artists that I know are saying what I want this mixture to say, or fit within a theme. I list as many as I can on paper. I try to get a healthy twenty five picks. Sometimes more. If on an occasion I come up short I will then retreat to iTunes and do a scroll through..thinking of lyrics, meanings, artists and the theme I am projecting to round out my list.

After the rough draft list is selected the second part of the mixture making process comes in. TRACK LISTING ORDER.
Some of my rules:
Number one/a: Start out with a bang! Grab the listeners’ interest…much like all of those English and lit courses I enrolled in for fun. Neil Dwyer always said: “Grab readers’ interest!” You don’t want your listener falling asleep at first listen. I may love lyrics and connect with lyrics first and foremost but a lot of people don’t. People want ear candy. Don’t overwhelm them with some deep lyrics. If you start off bad then chances are the listener may not even give the rest of your hard work a shot. Compilations are a lot of work.

Number two/b: Be sensitive to likes and dislikes. Sometimes I will ask the receiver: What’s your favorite song of all time? Favorite band of all time? Top five songs you are in love with right this second. This is important. If you know a receiver hates country don’t try to slide one on. Again, compiliations are a lot of work and you want your hard work to be appreciated. Don’t force dislikes on a cd..chances are the listener will give up on you!

Number three/c : No same artists back to back. I love, love, love Jimmy Eat World. If you have ever received a mixture from me you will probably find at least one Jim song. Sometimes, if fitting, I will throw two on the mix but they can never be back to back. Again, don’t want to overwhelm the listener or drown them in Jim. Just because I am quite fond of drowning in Jim doesn’t mean everyone will be J

Number four/d: Be selective with slower songs. Unless your theme is Debbie Downer you don’t want to put the only three slow songs on your mix in a row. Spread them out. You need flow.

Number five/e: No advanced listening tracks. Think about the receiver. Think about your choices. For example: I love Frightened Rabbit but I think some of their songs are for advanced users only. Songs that you can only appreciate if you have gotten over that initial hump of newness. I think all bands have these types of songs. Songs that are an acquired taste, as I like to call them. Be careful with these. I tend to not include them. If you are doing a Best of Band and the listener LOVED the mix and comes back for more, then I would include these acquired taste songs.

Number six/f: When your ordering is complete listen through the mix as a dry run. Does it flow? Does is say what you want to say? Does it fulfill it’s purpose? Think of your listener while doing this. Make any changes here. Usually if I make a change I listen through again, I will do about twenty seconds of each song and scroll through the cd. When satisfied BURN.

I have a favorite lyric from almost every song that I like. {that’s A LOT}. While blue printing I will jot down some of these. Find one that fits the message of the mixture. This will be my title for the compilation. I usually draw/deco the outside of the cd and include this title. I also, always, include a tracklisting with name of song, artist name. Sometimes, if the person is VIP [and because I love crafting] I will create a booklet to go with the cd. Include song title, artist, my fav lyric and WHY I selected that particular song to go on the mix. I love the process of things, the blue prints, why people do what they do..probably why I majored in psychology…. If I don’t make a liner book to go with the mixture then I usually throw in a copy of my blue prints for the listener. Just so they can see my process!

Sounds like a lot of work huh? Well, believe me, it is a lot of work!
So how do you create a mixed cd or compilation? Do you have a process? What’s your method behind the madness?

Hand Made Over the Years

23, November 2010

2005-A Santa Cinnamon Stick

2006-Random wood cut outs painted. I only have this one to show but I also did Reindeer, Santas, Snowflakes and other items Christmas related.

2007-Clothes pin Toy Soilder

2008-Assorted Colored Christmas light bulb Reindeer

2009-Assorted Foam Santas. No two were the same!

2009-Also included home made Christmas card with a snowman ornament in the center you could remove and add to your tree!

2010-The infamous easy North Pole sign post.

2010-Only created three of these special sets for two girls who work for me and one for my Ma, of course.

Hard Work Pays Off!

Since 2005 I started creating a home made ornament for Christmas each year. These ornaments are mailed out with Christmas cards and given to VIP's. I started the annual project for fun in 2005 and 2006 and then people started to ask about them. By October I would calls inquiring what the ornament would be this year...and most people seemed genuinely excited to receive them. I know I would. I love hand made items and I love Christmas ornaments so to combine these two things = Golden.

Since most seem to enjoy the ornaments I continue to make them each year. I need to create 5o of these ornaments to properly cover all bases. It's like a little sweat shop in my home office!

By this time I am usually finished with the project so they are ready for posting after Thanksgiving. This year I didn't have an idea for the ornament until last week!! Yes, I have been procrastinating. I had an idea stowed away for an easy but cute ornament. As the years have gone on and the list has narrowed I can manage with a total of 40 made. I got straight to work this weekend and I photographed my progress to share:

Firstly: I had to cut out arrow shapes from mini Popsicle sticks using a craft knife. There are many things wrong with this statement.
Number one/a: Craft knives never work properly for me.

Number two/b: Popsicle sticks are very difficult to cut.

Number three/c: I can not be trusted with sharp objects because I am SUPER clumsy

Number four/d: I snapped about four razors in the process of making 40 mini signs. I was starting to think I should wear protective head gear.

Moving right along...curse you mini arrows....A pox on your house!

Finished painted product. Equally as annoying = Writing NORTH POLE in cute font on forty different mini arrows.

Painted sticks.

Marry these two and you get a sign post. Also glued a mini jingle bell for added cuteness.

Add some faux snow and a ribbon and COMPLETE!

Tag them with my sig/date and here is the lot! Ready for posting!

Tomorrow I will post up pictures of my ornaments from 2005 until now!

I'm Pretty Excited!!

Friday 19, November 2010

Wanna know why??

Number one/a: I woke up and after my hour of getting ready for work I must say I look pretty stinking cute today. My hair is just right. I am perfectly matched in my outfit and I just feel good about myself today.

Number two/b: I purchased my Harry Potter tickets for the 10:50 showing three nights ago. I will be attending with Hubs and an old friend I have not seen in awhile. She introduced me to Harry and once upon a time we got matching tattoos to show our love/loyalty of the Lightening Bolt! Pretty nostalgic that I will be viewing the final film (part one) with her!

Number three/c: It seems like everyday another crisis arises...That involves chunks of money. Leaking shower to under the house, flat tires (times three), new brakes, a whole set of tires for a giant SUV, leaking ceiling, who knows what else will come up. It's one thing after another. Here's the thing: I can still smile about it. Welcome to my life! It's kind of hectic but things just happen at times. Best to just roll with the punches and be grateful for that chunk of time at the end of each day where I get to curl up in my heated blankie with my best cats at my side and read a book! Moments such as these make the hectics worth while.

Number four/d: Thanksgiving this year I may actually enjoy. Usually I dread the running around and exhaustion of Thanksgiving and Xmas. This year we are making our own food....not going anywhere. I would be happy with just some pasta and garlic bread instead of turkey but we are going to attempt our own feast. Simple. Relaxing. No drama. I am in love with this.

Number five/e: I have finished a good bit of my Christmas shopping. I did the bulk of it online but have gone out to stores twice now and my "to-be-wrapped" pile is stacking up! I find that I enjoy the season more if I have less stress and obligation.

Number six/f: I am pretty excited to get started on my ornaments for this year. I have all of the supplies ready to go. I have had no time this week to start them but this weekend is open. I have not done anything artsy in about a month! No crafting, no scrapping, no painting..NOTHING. I am excited to just create.

Number seven/g: I am halfway finished with book 71 for the year! [still waiting on my new Stephen King book to arrive.....] but I am confident I can hit my 75 mark for this year!

Hope everyone has an amazing weekend!

Made to Order..

This is borderline a coffee rant and a doctor rant. For those who are not aware, I work in accounts/medical coding & billing at a medical office. I love coffee. I love coffee when I come in early morning. I also love half & half in my coffee...and splenda... Apparently everyone else in my office, also, has fallen in love with MY half & half and splenda. I purchase a carton of creamer and I use it once and it's gone. Within days. Gone are the days of just writing your name on the cap to insure safety!

For this reason, I stopped making/drinking coffee at the office. I usually stop on the way at my 711 (oh, thank heaven) and/or McD's-who, in my opinion has the best coffee, ever. Even better than Dunkin and yes, I know, America runs on Dunkin but given the choice, I would run on McD's.

I digress.

This morning I stop at Mcd's for my coffee and go to pick up my tickets from the day prior at each office. Along the way a GI Doctor, who only works at my office once a week, stops me and asks if I made coffee yet? Odd on many levels...

Number one/a: I am carrying in my hand a LARGE Mcd's coffee, therefore, why would I make coffee when I already purchased one?
Number two/b: It was posed in a way that would make you believe that I often make coffee ["have you made any coffee yet?"] I don't make coffee. Perhaps six months ago but not now, not ever.
Number three/c: I see this guy once a week. I barely know him. I didn't even know he drank coffee.

Here's the thing folks. If you wanted coffee just ask me to make some. I like to just get to the point. No foolishness.

So I just reply to GI and say: "Nope, I purchased my own coffee". He gives a snarky laugh and moves on. I continue with my duties and go to my desk. A co-worker comes to me about ten minutes later and asks if I can go make coffee. This co-worker is not a coffee drinker and is not familiar with the brewing properties of coffee. I ask her why.

She explains that GI went into the back and was complaining that no one had made coffee and this is..."Bull shit". Another regular doc also went back to join him in his rant. She tells me they both stood there staring at old coffee from the day before, holding empty cups and the regular Doc explained that he didn't know why someone couldn't make him some fresh coffee and the coffee sitting in the pot was old and that he should put a sign on it reading: Caution.

So here is my co-worker pleading with me to go make coffee for these gents who obviously have time to walk 500 yards to the break area, stand and stare with empty mugs, discuss the bull-shitery of peons not making some fresh coffee and construct a sign of caution for old coffee.

In all of this time and energy didn't one of them stop and think they they could perhaps, dump out the old coffee and quick scoop some new stuff in and brew some new??

I told my co-worker that after I was finished doing a few things I would go back and relieve all tensions of the docs and brew some fresh coffee but after she walked away I remained in my seat on principle. I refuse. The entire situation was just plain redick.

I was hoping they learned their lesson but alas, I heard later that someone [nicer] than I went back and brewed their coffee. They also probably mixed the cream and sugar for them and then spoon fed it to the docs as well. sweet.

♪ "You Could Look Through Some Old Photos.."♪

Went out with Bud a few weekends ago to take some pics. Here are a few from my digital. When I go out I usually bring my 35 mm old skool and digital.

I love my 35mm but I am seriously contemplating getting a manuel zoom digital. Of course I would need some serious cash flow for this as they are insane in price.

Here are a few shots:

Making a List...

I just wanted to state for the record that I purchased TWO Christmas gifts while at Borders on Friday. I know, I know, I can't believe it either.

Now if I can just get motivated to buy some other stuff. I have not even decided what Christmas ornament to make this year. Usually by this time, I have already started production but I don't even have an idea yet! Time is flying by and I am quite comfortable living in oblivion.

I think after I type this I am going to go online and purchase a few things so I can get out of this Christmas slump. Then after purchase I am going to make a decision on my ornament this year. Hows that??

What's on everyone's Christmas lists this year? Please tell me I am not the only procrastinator here!
Here are a few things I am wishing get thrown under my tree by the Big Guy:
New chucks!

The North Face...I have wanted one of these guys for a few years.

Medal of Honor for XBOX 360

COD-Black Ops. If nothing else, I need this in my life.

♥ ♥ ♥ Jim


10, November 2010

Happy Happy!!

2010 Gone With The Wind...

Closing in on my 67th book of the year. I don't like to be intimidated by the classics but staring at a 1,038 paged book taking place during the Civil War made me slightly anxious. I was more worried that I would have a hard time being interested and I hate when I feel as if I have to "plow" through a book. Plowing through a book that has 1,038 pages would really end my year in a bad way. I really wanted to read 75 books this year and this one could end me. I purchased Gone with the Wind in the beginning of 2010 with hopes of reading it but the time had to be just right. I was feeling that the time was I picked it up..

I am pleased to announce that I am currently on page 805 and I love everything about this novel. Of course, I have seen the film several times throughout my life but the book is amazing tenfold.

In the film, I always viewed Scarlett as hateful, concieted and just awful. While reading you get more insight into her mind and as of page 805 I must say she is my total hero right now. She didn't care what anyone thought and her strength and drive started a revolution. Complete bad-assery.
I will be sad to see this big book end but am also excited to end my year with a few of these:

New Stephen King

Four novellas in one book and the reviews and descriptions sound so good I am very excited to dive in. I believe I devoured King's last collection, Just Before Sunset. It seems hit or miss with King and I. Hoping this one is a hit!

Also want to read this:

Johnny Cash = Total Rock Star

Has anyone read Scarlett? I have heard mixed reviews? Is this a good book to kick off 2011?

Catching Up...

-Had to swim into work this morning. Some serious downpour all day today. Not a big fan of commuting during days such as these. I just want to be wrapped in my heated blanket, reading Gone with The Wind. Which, I have started and LOVE :)

-Hope everyone's Halloween was amazing! I had a lovely Halloween! My party went over very well. I was super busy Friday preparing. Hubs went to an away soccer game/field trip in Northern Virginia to see U of Md play. This means all prep was left up to me. I was riding solo (to quote Jason Durello...or however you spell that mans name). I had to work (of course), drive an hour to the food store, shop, clean my entire house, bake and decorate a cake, get foods cut and ready for serving and then I microwaved a Smart One Baked Ziti, sat on my couch and watched Sex and the City part two all by my lonesome. That last bit made the entire day worth it.

-The party went over very well. Three people cancelled, last minute, but we still had fun. The cake!

-I was trying to catch up on my blog readings today. Really shocked at the amount of disdain about "older" trick or treaters. In the grand scheme of life does this really matter? I don't care how old you are, if you are dressed and wanting some sweets I will give them to you. Halloween is just good fun. With all of the BS in todays world it's good to just have a little fun now and then. With this and last weeks shoe rant on the radio I guess I sit here thinking how thanful I am. I was there once. I was angry about everything that had nothing to do with me. Judging folks for stupid things, but you know what? I wasn't happy with me. I was miserable. I let it go and I feel 126% better for it. I realized that I wouldn't want people to hate on me for stupid shit (sorry for the language) and if someone is hanging out and happy, that's amazing to me. Regardless of their shoes. Life is too short, have some effin' fun while you are here. Childish or not. Cheap shoes or not. Costume or not.
Laugh, play, sing out loud-even if people are around, wear a stupid costume at Halloween, dance, SMILE and get happy with you.

-Monday I attended a show in DC for Frightened Rabbit. Those boys never cease to amaze me.
I had a nice day off on Tuesday. I have been having a hard time sleeping for the past two weeks and I was able to catch up on some sleep and errands that I keep putting off. I had a mountain of work to make up next day, but sometimes it's worth it, just to take a personal day.
Hope everyone had a fun filled and lovely holiday!

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