Hat on Top, Coat Below


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June 21, 2004

Before we went to the concert last week, I was trying to remember if I knew any Asia, and Mr. Karen assured me I did, because he remembered me telling him–back in the 1980’s– that I consumed an album of theirs. I didn’t recall telling him any such thing, and I’m the one who usually maintains useless trivia like that in my brain for years longer than makes any kind of sense, so I was somewhat rattled by this exchange. Was I losing my edge? Had I bought an album twenty years ago and forgotten about it? No, as it turns out, I had not. We determined, through an exhaustive search of the one small shelf of vinyl we have, that it was the Men at Work album I’d consumed, not Asia. I felt much better. I remember buying that one. (It was a sunny day in East Lansing. I found the “Vegemite sandwich” line irresistible. I finally had Vegemite this past winter; it is VERY resistable.) It turned out that the Asia we had was on a tape Mr. Karen had made from someone else’s LP, so they hadn’t gotten any money from us at all.

I felt a little guilty about that. I feel guilty about all the mix tapes I made in college (all two– or it is three?– of them). Now I’ve started to feel guilty about the mix CDs I’ve been accumulating through the magic of the internet. On the one hand, it’s wrong for me to have music in my possession that the artist didn’t get any profit from. On the other, I’d rarely buy any music at all if it weren’t for mix CDs, since I almost never find new to me music any other way. Sure, once in a while I’ll buy something I heard on NPR, but mostly I buy more of things I’ve gotten a taste of on mix CDs. That other hand? That’s justification you hear.

I’ve decided it’s okay to keep mix CDs if I also have at least one purchased CD I can trace to that mix. Since this is a new rule I’ve made up for myself, and I haven’t really fleshed it out yet, I’m not sure what I’ll do with mixes I decide I don’t want to buy anything off of. Leave them in random place, possibly with a note to send me an e-mail if the finder cares to? Also, I haven’t yet set a statute of limitations for myself. I’m thinking it needs to be at least a year. That’s what the limit was to use a gift certificate I got as a bonus at work, which I just recently cashed in for guilt-assuaging CDs.

Because I got a bunch of mixes at JournalCon, most of the discs I got were tied to those. Weetabix’s muscial stylings inspired me to get both When in Rome’s self-titled album and Aqua’s Aquarium, which has become my new commuting feel good album. My nemesis, 696, does not seem quite so bad when I’ve got cheesy Danish bubblegum pop to bop to. The soundtrack to Kate & Leopold is Rob’s doing. Someday I’ll have to watch the movie; I’ve borrowed the DVD from the library at work more than once but haven’t managed to actually get it in the player yet. ThatGrrrl’s Rockapella disc is responsible for Smilin’ being added to my collection, and thanks to Jason’s influence, I’ve now bought my first dance remix CD, of Iio’s Rapture. Rounding out the JournalCon group, there’s Kevin Fowler’s Beer, Bait, and Ammo, which I think came from Astrofish’s Texas mix, but I may be wrong about that.

The last two CDs in the bunch justify mixes I got from Suspects. Transmissions from the Satellite Heart would not have found a home without help from nick d, since The Flaming Lips had not made it onto my radar screen but once I heard them rhyme “Vaseline” with “magazines”, I had to hear more. Finally, there’s the soundtrack from Malcolm in the Middle, motivated by Aristophanes. I’ve been listening to this one a lot; I like the variety of having a bunch of different artists–hey, that’s kinda like a mix CD, so this entry has now come full circle.


I’ve never written a June 21 entry here before. If I had, perhaps it would have been about how hard it is for me to leave the apostrophe out of plurals of capital letters and acronyms, as in CDs. Authorities tell me that’s the way to do it these days, but the lessons I learned from Mrs. White back in the day are deeply ingrained.

J is for Justification

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