The irony here is that the advent of the blog means I have a much better record of what was going on in my life at the time, but there really wasn’t much going on in my life at the time. For me, things had more or less stabilized. I was happily working at Wolfram, I was doing many of the same things as before, and the Celexa was keeping me on an even keel.
Our University of Illinois friends were dispersing, however, as dissertations were finished and jobs were gained. Like dandelion seeds they scattered to Michigan, Ohio, Massachusetts, and elsewhere. Becky was also finishing up her diss and was starting to look for jobs.
The most notable change for me was my newfound interest in politics. I had always been something of a liberal but moreso of a curmudgeon. The first election I got to vote in was the infamous Duke-Edwards governor election in Louisiana, where I had to choose between a crook and a former Ku Klux Klan leader. My opinion of the electoral system was not high, and I didn’t even vote in the 2000 presidential election (not that it mattered much in Illinois) because I was so disgusted with the whole thing. But of course, the events following September 11 horrified me and illustrated exactly what the difference was between the parties, and I found myself regaining interest.
(After September 11 I briefly regained contact with Rob. He had undergone a lot of changes since the last time I had spoken with him, and became a hardcore conservative for about 20 minutes after the fact.)
The blog helped me vent my spleen at the absurdities happening in American society. It also provided a creative outlet, since I had a degree in Creative Writing from LSU but hadn’t written a word since getting it.
There wasn’t a whole lot going on, but some changes were ahead.
A year’s gone by, but not a whole lot has changed.
- Save Ferris – Turn It Up
- They Might Be Giants – Bangs
- Cake – Short Skirt/Long Jacket
- Shivaree – Goodnight Moon
- David Gray – Please Forgive Me
- Gorillaz – 19-2000
- Weezer – Dope Nose
- Hooverphonic – Vinegar & Salt
At last we’re back to the point where I’m mining the same albums for more songs.
- Soul Coughing – Rolling
With El Oso, this band fully clicked for me. And then they broke up.
- Jimmy Eat World – The Middle
Bleed American is an excellent pop album, with many songs written especially for me.
- The Strokes – Last Nite
I like this song okay, and I think there’s another one coming, but this band didn’t blow me away like it seemed to do others. I found the album to be repetitive and dull, but a lot of people are really wowed by it.
- Alabama 3 – Mao Tse Tung Said (edit)
“Love is my only weapon — BULLSHIT!”
- Wilco – Heavy Metal Drummer
I don’t much care for Radiohead, but I liked Wilco’s move to become their American cousins. This is one of the few “normal” tracks off Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, because so many of the others don’t really work when separated from the whole. I also had plans for a compilation called “I am Trying to Break My Heart” featuring the track of that near-title off this album and others that served to wrench me emotionally, but for some reason I decided that wasn’t a great idea, so it never happened. Incidentally, I had no knowledge of Wilco or Uncle Tupelo before this album.
- Fiona Apple – Fast As You Can
“Shadowboxer” was one of those songs that almost made it onto previous mixes but never did. I love the wildly varying pace of this one.
- Beth Wood – Rusty Nail
I have no idea where I first heard this song, or of this person. I love the song and bought the album, though nothing else on it grabs me like this one does.
- Badly Drawn Boy – Something to Talk About
This is from the About a Boy soundtrack. I like BDB, but find him to be best in small doses.
- Dirty Vegas – Days Go By
This was another Shasradio favorite.
- The Minders – Hooray For Tuesday
One of the Internet message boards I hung out on had a thread where people advised songs to check out. This song was on that list and I had downloaded it and liked it, but didn’t really go further. At some point I listened to it again and suddenly decided I needed more of this. I bought Hooray for Tuesday and, soon afterwards, Cul-De-Sacs and Dead ends and with that, I became a Minders fan.
- Ben Folds – Zak And Sara
Say what you will about Ben Folds, Rockin’ the Suburbs is a fantastic album. And this song of a would-be guitarist and his future-seeing girlfriend is great.
- Fountains of Wayne – Utopia Parkway
Everything that their first album was, Utopia Parkway was more of it. It is a phenomenal album, with not a single misstep to be found, and this song starts it all off with a bang. One of my all-time favorites.
- Idlewild – Actually It’s Darkness
Not sure where I heard of these guys, but I bought the album used. It’s okay.
- Riddlin’ Kids – I Feel Fine
This is one of the hazards of the Napster era. I heard this song on the radio, liked it and downloaded it, and stuck it on this mix. It’s…well, it’s not bad, but it’s here why? If it had been harder to get I wouldn’t be talking about it now.
- Switchfoot – Chem 6A
My friend and co-worker John came from a different musical background than me, and introduced me to this band, which is often thought of as Christian rock. That’s neither here nor there, as this is a good song by any standards.
- The Go-Go’s – Unforgiven
Remember when the Go-Go’s reunited? Well, they did, and this is proof.
- Foo Fighters – The One
I’ve noted before that I have a soft spot for the Foo Fighters, though by this time I wasn’t buying the albums (or, for that matter, listening much to the ones I already owned.) They have a knack for writing catchy straight-up rock songs.
- Aimee Mann – That’s Just What You Are
I really wanted to be as interested in Aimee Mann as I was supposed to be, and I really like this song, but there’s only so much of her I can take at one time.
- The White Stripes – Fell In Love With A Girl
I came for the video made of Lego, but I stayed for…well, I didn’t really stay.
- Suzanne Vega – Song in Red and Gray
Did I mention Suzanne had a divorce? And is there any…any…line that says as much as, “Did I break the thread or did you break the thread, well at this point we could ask, ‘who cares?'”?
- Cracker – Guarded By Monkeys
Despite the success of Kerosene Hat, the world had forgotten about Cracker at this point, which is a shame, because Forever is a really solid album. And yes, this song mentions PGP keys.
The title was courtesy of Anna, who suggested it due to the interest in Steampunk I had at the time (I was working on a Steampunk RPG that ultimately never got off the ground.)
Click on the player below to listen to this mix!
(xspf player courtesy Lacy Morrow and Fabricio Zuardi.)