a music historiography of boyfriends past

Dear Internet,

Sirius/XM 1st Wave was rocking out today with their hour long Halloween mix, which I then was pumping through my stereo and singing along badly. Somehow this pushed me down the rabbit hole to generate a Spotify holiday playlist of (mostly) punk, pop, rap, ska, and other non Michael Buble artists. Tada! So below is 12.5 hours of holiday music to get you in the mood.


When TheExHusband and I returned to the cabin from our errand running this afternoon, and I had finished building the holiday playlist, this seemed like a damn fine time to import 100g (not including new stuff I’ve picked up recently) into iTunes so I can play my own shit at home without necessarily relying on Spotify or Amazon. It’s been so long since I’ve looked into this dark corner of my nas, I was truly clueless to what was hiding in there.

The lack of playing music at home  has nothing to do with not wanting to listen but the relative ease of using Spotify, Pandora, YouTube, and buying mp3s from Amazon/iTunes. Why should I pull up my mp3s of Elbow when I can stream all of their albums in Spotify? Why should I track down a CD when I can buy the digital album via Amazon?

Long live physical media. Physical media is dead.  (Except for vinyl. Shaun Cassidy for the win!)

When I was packing my stuff within the recent years, I found one of my old mix tapes (yes, on cassette), from 1992 or so? I would have been driving at that point (I got my license at 19) and more than likely driving the inherited mumsy’s old Cadillac Cimarron. So about ’92 or ’94ish? One side of the tape was “Manic” and the other was “Depressive.” Aren’t I clever? The tape is packed somewhere amongst the ruins of my material life thus the track listing is escaping me. That is probably the only physical evidence I have of my early music mixing youth.


Making mixed tapes, from cassette to CD to Spotify playlists, is part of my DNA. If I love you, platonically or romantically, you’re getting a mixed tape. I became more active in making said tapes when I made one for TheBassist in ’05:

lisamix

(TheBassist confessed when we started dating last year that over time, as he swapped from computer to computer, he made sure a copy of that mix was always with him and he played it constantly during the last 10 years. You can imagine I was flattered like hell.)

TheEx and I would exchange mix tapes  during the course of our relationship:
jonsmix

For the first holiday with TheEx, I created a holiday mix, which I also gave to people who wanted a copy:
lmmfx


I know I’m definitely not alone in using music to convey my feelings. I once read somewhere those who use music to pontificate their emotions was due to their inability to vocally articulate said feelings themselves. Articulating feelings is not a problem for me as I have nearly 20 years of my life on the internet, but I use music to manage those feelings and it’s freeing. It’s much more satisfying to dance manically in one’s living room to a pounding beat over chewing thoughtfully on a pen after you scribe. Amirite?

Roping back to listening to 1stWave (or any station really), it’s been particularly hard these last few weeks and years. While I’m driving, I often find it difficult to listen to a particular tune without wanting to flip everything off or pound the steering wheel in fury or having tears well up. It’s not necessarily just the recent string of my lovers but how I associate music with people, places, and times.

(It doesn’t help TheEx and TheBassist are the same age so of course I bonded with them on the music of our youths, which is primarily played on 1stWave. The dicks.)


I was just outside. The stars are shining bright and the gods are talking to me through the tree tops again. I thought writing this would exorcise some of the feelings associated with these songs and I think I was wrong. It’s hard when nearly every memory is easily accessible via music and it all feels like yesterday. It’s been nearly 20 years when TheExHusband and I first dated, 10 years since I met TheBassist. Nine years since I met TheEx. Those three were, in various incarnations, my heart for a very long time. And now, now, all of that music is just a burning bright reminder of where I’m at now. I feel like I’ve been handed a big bag of memories and it’s up to me to sort through it all, donate some to charity and keep others. I forget at times they may be going through the same thing themselves, but fuck’em.


For the last ten years, I’ve been banging on about my life is High Fidelity. I am the female Rob, something I had in my dating profile long ago and what wooed TheEx to contact me. The following fourth wall monologue by Rob resonates how I often feel:

What came first, the music or the misery? People worry about kids playing with guns, or watching violent videos, that some sort of culture of violence will take them over. Nobody worries about kids listening to thousands, literally thousands of songs about heartbreak, rejection, pain, misery and loss. Did I listen to pop music because I was miserable? Or was I miserable because I listened to pop music?


This post has been sitting in my drafts for a while I thought it would interesting to pull up the music from my exes and talk about the influence the songs (and them) had on my life. Memories at the push of a button.

TheExHusband (1997-1999, 2008-2014)
TheExHusband and I reconnected earlier in 2008 right after TheEx and I broke up. Seven to eight months later, we planned a get away weekend which we refer to as The Great Bang of 2008. We were glued to each other’s hip for nearly seven years and it’s hard to narrow just a few songs to encapsulate our relationship.

After we got married, I created a wedding mixtape and here is why those songs still resonate with me, about him, today:

Every couple has an “official” song, usually some Michael Buble remix or regurgitated emo bullshit. We have Edward Sharpe and The Magnetic Zeros, a band we both gravitated to after hearing them on All Songs Considered. Lyrics can be found here and YouTube is here.

Granted, this is not a typical love song by a long shot but Idiot Wind is off of TheExHusband’s favorite Dylan album, Blood on the Tracks. This album was one we listened to on repeat on one of our second first dates back in 2008 and it is also one of our mutual favorite tracks.

“Intergalactic,” the single off of Hello Nasty by the Beastie Boys, was released in the summer of 1998, right when TheExHusband and I started dating the first time. According to him, I listened to Beastie Boys, Lords of Acid, Sarah Mclachlan, and Afghan Whigs nonstop during that period. Since I was not, for the sake of the story, sober for most of that period, I’ll take his word. In 2009, Justin bequeathed me an art poster based off of “Intergalactic.” I knew based on the first few lines of the song, and the history behind it in regards to us, had to go into the mix. Video is available here.

In the world of pop and rock music, one of the definitive albums that is still seen as the holy grail of influence is the Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds. Any kind of music critic, if apparently worth his or her salt, will name check this album in their review at least ONCE, regardless of the song/album/band/genre they are reviewing. Most of my die-hard music friends also name check this album and agreed that yes, one should at least have Pet Sounds in their repertoire. For Christmas 2008, I indeed received Pet Sounds as a present from TheExHusband. “God Only Knows,” in stereo not analog, is included in the mix. Again, with the stupid still photos with musical background only available on YouTube or terribly edited live version, there is only lyrics, which are available here.


“The Sausage” is an obscure track sung by an obscure calypso artist, Baldhead Growler. It’s become an in-joke of sorts, where one of us will randomly start singing this song for no particular reason other than it’s fun and raunchy.

TheBassist (2004-2005, 2014-2015)
When TheBassist and I got back together, he gave me a run down of all the songs he had compiled over the years to express how he felt for me. This seemed like a good time to put together a playlist of songs that resonated and represented how we presently felt about the other.


Interpol’s second album, Antics, had just been released and we were both ga-ga for the band. We quickly proclaimed a particular Interpol song for the other. Mine is Slow Hands about him, his is Obstacle 1 about me. I once had a t-shirt that said, “She can read, she’s bad.”  Both songs come up, still, frequently on alternative stations and it should be no surprise they drag up a lot of feelings.

We thought the ultimate pinnacle of our relationship would be to see Interpol live. We never did go.


This song, by Elbow, is the tale of a female drug addict, but to me the song represents/ed what a twat TheBassist had been when he dumped me back in 2005. It still resonates today.


This song, and another one that is not on the list and is escaping my memory right now, is the best description of how he felt about me during all of those years. The yearning, the love, the everything broke my damned heart when I heard them for the first time.


Doves was/is a band that came along the same time as Elbow (they know each other in Madchester) and this song, which is apparently about nothing, was heavily played when TheBassist and I met the first go-round. It was also included on his 2005 mix tape.

TheEx (2006-2008)

If Interpol was TheBassist’s and I band, Bloc Party was mine and TheEx’s. We traveled often to see shows across Michigan and to Chicago. A Weekend In The City came out a month or two after we started dating and we caught their tour that summer and I still stand by my declaration it is one of the best concerts I have ever been to.

This particular song was chosen because there is a Brighton, MI, a city you pass on  I-96 as you travel to Detroit. We would crank this song up on high as we roared past because we were, more often than not, driving to Brighton for the weekend.


I’m a big fan of shoegaze and apparently I missed out on a lot of American bands who were the forefront of the movement during the early ’90s. The American Analog Set is one such band and this song was on one of the first CDs he made for me.


Snowden is a relatively little known indie band comprising of one guy but who has a backing band when he tours. TheEx got me hooked on him and when I was one of two up for a gig at AMG, I interviewed Snowden as my assignment for my interview. As you may have noticed, I did not get the job.


Another single TheEx put on of his earlier mix tapes. He must have known one day I was going to become a librarian.

Derrick (2004ish)
Derrick was an old co-worker of mine at UUNet, who I found out a few years after I left, had a big crush on me. That crush turned into a romance that didn’t last terribly long (six months or so?), but we parted on good terms. Within the last year or so, Derrick got in touch and mentioned he thought of me fondly and has been slightly kicking himself for letting me go after he was diagnosed with MS. We are super friendly with the other, BFFs on Facebook and all that rot.


Derrick is a huge ska/punk fan and every time I hear this song, I think of him.

Patrick (1996ish-2004ish)

Patrick and I knew each other forever (hence the 1996ish start date) but didn’t really start to date until around 2003 or so. We split for a number of reasons but still remain(ed) friendly. He’s married now. Within the last few years he said something along the lines that while he still loved me, he found it too hard to be friends. I get a happy birthday from him every year and that’s about it.

ExFiance #2 (1999-2002)

ExFiance #2 and I parted on good terms and were friendly for a number of years after the breakup. BUT since he’s been married (and has a family of his own), he’s been talking shit about me across the Internet. Why? I have no reason but I’ve had several of our mutual friends confess that what he was saying didn’t match up with how I actually was. Men.


Relationships may come and go, but I will always have my music. Just press play.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2001, 2001

Howard Roarke Laughed. Again.

Netherlandish (possibly Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen), circa 1500. Via Wikipedia Commons.
Laughing Fool. Netherlandish (possibly Jacob Cornelisz. van Oostsanen), circa 1500.
Via Wikipedia Commons.

Dear Internet,

The one major hiccup while working on getting my archives back online is I read almost all  of what I put up to check for errors, broken links, broken images and the like which makes the process longer. In the beginning of this project, I was also checking for grammar, but I decided to leave the earlier work alone in its pure form. (AKA, I’m lazy.)

Some years are terrible to read, like 2003, in which I was an emotional wreck of doom and other years are just nostalgic of, “Oh. I did/read/eat/fucked that?” Sometimes I’m not so bright, and others, I am goddamn fucking brilliant.

What always trips me up the most when working on this project is the relationships that died either in a fiery passion of destruction or the ones that could have been, but never kicked off for whatever reason. I get to relive each train wreck, line by line, in slow, agonizing detail.

A few weeks ago while doing some public clean up on various social sites, I came across messages for me from an ex, TheBassist, which were left on his blogs over the course of several years.  One was from 2011 and the other from earlier this year. Finding his messages was happenstance and at first, I could not place who they were from, but then once I saw the message itself I knew exactly who it was. I checked his main blog and saw the 2011 post in which he had apparently stalked me on Facebook but didn’t attempt to contact me.

Not quite sure what I’m supposed to do with this information for:

  1. He splintered my heart the first time that when he came sniffing around the second time,  about six months after our first tussle, I showed him my partially fixed heart which he took a sledgehammer to. Again.
  2. While the connection between us when we were together was insane, he routinely lied to me on just about everything
  3. I could never trust him again, even in a platonic manner

So if he’s wondering if I read them, yes. Yes, I did.

As I skip through most of the naughts, some exes keep coming up over and over. Miguel, who in 2011 decided to Facebook me to find out where I was so we could get married. And if you all recall, I already am married. Happily. What transpired out of that conversation of nearly 20 years of missed connections and opportunities, was finding out he was ALREADY living with a woman who happened to be nearly half his age. So yes, he was attempting to marry his high school sweetheart (who is married to someone else) while still living with his sweetheart who just out of  high school as this is how this man rolls.

A bullet dodged.

I’ve started dipping into some time periods when Patrick and I were together, which if I had not married TheHusband, and the stars were aligned and unicorn blood had not been spilt, he and I might have ended up Mr. and Mrs. Patrick related to me a few years ago the thought process of if he had gotten his emotional shit together, at the time my emotional shit was together, I would be Mrs. Patrick on this day. Instead, he’s now married in Texas and has a step-daughter whom he adores. No animosity between us, we were never one of those couples, but the best recourse for our sanity is to just remain distant friends instead of the half dreaming of what could have beens. Our over protection of the other, truthfully him more so than me, coupled with our long, long interwoven past makes it difficult not to be forever linked.

TheEx occupied most of my thoughts from 2006 – 08, and makes appearances in my brain every six months or so now, basically in the realm of, “Am I still angry enough to want to rip his nuts out and shove them down his throat? Y/N?”. Just as working through the time in 2003 when Miguel and I were plotting to save the world is painful to read, so is the content I’m recovering about TheEx is painful. What’s up right now is just glimpses of what I have, and that pain is as fresh as if you have poured salt on an open wound.

Recently I was hanging out in 1999, where TheHusband and Jeff (known as Lucid) are prominently figured. I mention that,

Of course as I started writing this, I had to google stalk him. Well, let’s not be surprised he has a Twitter account and I made frowny faces as I read back his timeline because – this is not someone I would have ever dated in a million years.  But it should be noted his first wife had emailed me oh five or six years ago because apparently he spent most of his first marriage comparing her to me and wife #2 looks suspiciously like me circa when we were dating.

After the entry that quote came from had been published, I started thinking about what Jeff would have thought of if he did the same (and let us presume at some point he had Google stalked me) – would he have thought he dodged a bullet with me? Would have have thought I had grown and evolved, or was I just peddling the same shit, just a different decade?

Tough, but much needed, questions to ask as I often wonder the same of myself. I think most who know me, and know me well, would have argued that I have moved and expanded my worldview in the last 20 years. That was one of the first things TheHusband remarked on as we started dating again – I maintained all the good things about my youth and seemingly smoothed out all the trouble spots. As I was saying to someone recently, this public naval gazing of the soul is becoming antiquated. I espouse so much, and at the same time so little, I am not entirely sure how to answer my own question.

Here is what I do know: Being here in this space, either alone or with you, has filled me with great joy this last month. There was a long time when I never thought I would write even privately again, and to know that I can do this still gives me so much.

Today is December 2, which means I’ve written AND posted an entry every day for the entire month of November. Crazy. I seriously can’t believe I have pulled that off! Will I continue doing it? Yes. I’m in a groove now and it seems as unusual now to not write something and post it to the world.

Let’s talk stats!

  • November total posts: 31 (Two posts on November 27)
  • November total word count: 28,036
  • November longest entry: I have a vagina, watch me use a computer (1987)
  • November shortest entry: scary house with the wild front yard (175)
  • Site total posts: 611 (including this one)
  • Site total word count: 412,066 (not including this one)

Taking into consideration how much isn’t up yet, whole years missing, there is a very real chance I’ll hit a million words once the archive project is completed.

Astonishing.

x0x0,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe: 2010, 1998

Can Lisa ever be happy?

My brother and I were sitting on opposite couches last night discussing the fate of our lives. It seemed that for every few good steps we take forward, we get pushed back another five. When the topic turned to relationships, he started cracking walnuts and I felt like it was some kind of sign.

On my way home from Denver, I flew through MLPS. A young couple with a child were in the seats next to me, with me taking the aisle seat (preference for leg room). The overhead bulkhead was closed and I thought perhaps they had already filled it with stuff as I needed a place for my messenger bag. But when I popped it open to verify, it was empty. After placing my bag up in the bulk hold, I noticed the father (presumedly) struggling with bags at his feet. I asked if he’d like for me to place that stuff in the bulkhead for him. He was quite rude while declining, and I just shrugged as I sat down. During the trip, the child was quiet and when it started to whimper a bit, the mother started breast feeding him.

I was a bit taken aback by the whole experience, especially since they apparently felt uncomfortable around me. The father and I kept jostling to not touch each other during the 1.5 hour flight. I kept to myself, leaning towards to the aisle with my book and my legs on the far left side. Megan and I were lolly gagging around the luggage carousel when I noticed the mother staring at me. I have no idea why she was so intent in me, but apparently one good deed for the day was enough to warrant the evil eye.

My brother and I were watching About A Boy last night as we talked. Our conversation stilted while we watched what was happening on screen and then would rev up again. I felt like I’m living in a glass jar. Being watched and scrutinized by those around me. I’m falling between cracks I never thought possible.

My birthday is coming up and I’ll be turning 32. I’m feeling the pressure of not having consumed enough or done enough by my early 30s. I should have my masters by now! I should be married! I should have kids! I should be doing a hundred and one different things and not worrying about whether or not a group project is being completed or if my grades will be good enough. I feel like I can’t relate to anyone in my age bracket and especially to women who are all walking that normality line that I’ve swerved so damn far from.

Everyone keeps asking me how Denver went. My monosyllabic answer of “Good!” or “Great!” seems to not fulfills their demands. I’m not sure what to say because in the end, I still have no answers to my questions. So perhaps I’ll start with what I perceive to be the truth and take it from there.

If you were not aware, Patrick had (has) three jobs. He own(ed)s part of a local company in Denver and does contract work for two others. I knew that while this was to be *my* vacation, for him, it was to be a hellish week of work. He was/is currently in flux with the local company, with him quitting the company half-way through my trip. One of his bosses for the contract work showed up prior to my arrival and left the morning I arrived.

He kept Patrick on a tight leash, calling at all hours of the day and night to get things completed. Many “dates” we had were broken by us driving to downtown Denver to work on shit at the colo, many plans disintegrated because his work schedule. Coupled with both of us being sick as dogs, tensions were high. Verbal fisticuffing ran rampart. It was terrible.

Verbal fisticuffing is the term I use when Patrick starts pushing my buttons, making smartass comments that only ignite me to push HIS buttons and make comments. This gets nasty really quick. There were no holds barred accounts where I let both guns fly. This was not the sound of a “happy couple” at all, rather, of people who could barely tolerate each other. It was distressing.

I grew tired of this game quick, opting to keep my mouth shut when he started which only defused him, which was the point. I was beginning to feel like an object, not a person. I whittled away the hours while he worked suffering on the couch with the illness that would not go away. After he would get done with work, he would spend a few hours playing video games on his PC. He would occasionally check up on me and make sure I had things I needed and that I was still breathing, but I did not feel like I was being comforted enough. Like something was missing, and I never really knew what it was.

The sex was interesting. Taking into account the stress from work, being sick and other shit going on, I didn’t care about those things. I wanted the sex to be as hot and passionate as it was the last time we were together. It wasn’t. Perhaps I’m rare, but despite all the emotional bullshit he was going through, I wanted him to treat me like he did before and he didn’t. I was getting tired (and bored) of always initiating it. And it wasn’t that he was not affectionate or showed affection to me, he did, but when it came to the actual act, it was always ME who had to take charge. Always, always always. Then the issues came up. According to him, his exes were dead lays. No imagination, passion or interest other than things vanilla. Things had to be done a specific way at specific times, heaven forbid that anything deviate from that pattern. Me? I’m not like that. By a long shot. And I tried. Tried to make him feel loved, wanted and needed. I introduced new things, taking baby steps. Nothing seemed to work as sex always ended with me on top.

Always.