Friday, November 16, 2007

Notorious B.I.G. - Mo' Money Mo' Problems

This track was a serious chart-topper back in the summer of '97. As such, it was the song that was playing when I first hopped into my 1995 Escort when I turned the stereo on during the test drive before buying it. While I'm certainly not a huge fan of Hip-Hop, Rap, R&B or urban music in general, there are a few tracks in the genre that I genuinely enjoy because they're just fun to listen to. This is one of them, and it reminds me of all the good times I had with that car. It went to a good home back in May of 2007 when I sold it to a friend of mine, about 10 years after I bought it.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Green Day - Basket Case

In high school, my friend Mike and I would sit around before school in the cafeteria. Only a masochist or a nerd would show up EARLY to school, right? I'll leave it to you to figure out which one of those categories I fell into. I often rode my bike to school - about a 7 mile ride each way. If I hammered it, I could get there pretty quick. When I'd drive, I'd get there early just for the parking.

It was our time. That's the real reason. We'd brainstorm, play games, talk, whatever. We got on this kick of selling the service of installing programs onto Texas Instruments and Casio graphing calculators. These could be anything from programs to look like you erased your calculator's memory (so that you could convince the teacher that you didn't have any cheat notes typed in) to algebra solvers, to silly games for your calculator. One of the programs we found would allow you to store and play music via your calculator. Basket Case. That's what we copied, in uber-low-one-bit quality to his calculator. It was awesome.

So yes, this reminds me of geeking out with graphing calculators before school. Pretty sad, isn't it?

Friday, November 9, 2007

Orbital - Otono

Sitting at a CTF table at DefCon 9 with my old NEC Versa 4050. Hacking away, and listening to Orbital's Middle Of Nowhere album at the same time. That laptop still works well, but the CD-ROM drive died many years ago. It obviously still worked fine back in 2000 if I was playing music through it.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Deep Blue Something - Breakfast at Tiffany's

This track hit the airwaves in 1996 or so. It reminds me of working at CompUSA as a lowly cashier (my first job), of trying to come out of my shell of shyness, and of my attempt to socialize in real life with so many other BBS addicts that were much like myself, trying to find some real life friends. A lot of other stuff happened in 1996, but that's probably tied to another song, somewhere...

Binary Finary - 1999

This was one of my favorite tracks right toward the end of the 20th century. During this time, probably my greatest hobby was that of making unsavory and rather hackish modifications to cars. Most of these were performance enhancements, like using various hoses and ducts to provide ram air intake and increased brake cooling at high speeds. Namely, this was my 1995 Escort and my friend/co-worker James' Probe and Firebird. Although, there were quite a few electronics/lighting and other aesthetic modifications done during this time period.

Some of my ideas failed miserably. Others worked out very, very well. I look back now, and ask "What was the point again?!"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Ian Van Dahl - Castles In The Sky

For some reason, I can't escape thinking about spending a few hours per Saturday for over a month straight wrenching on my old '95 Ford Escort when this song plays. I'd recently put a new engine in it, and shortly thereafter, the clutch started acting up, thanks in part to some abuse by someone I'd lent my car out to. The person who was driving it knew how to drive a 5-speed manual car. That wasn't the problem.

Anyhow, 5 weekends, gallons of sweat, quarts of transmission fluid, hundreds of dollars, and many piles of under-car grime later, my car was working fine again with a brand new clutch that I can gladly say I had replaced all by myself.

I chose to listen to this song today as I recalled this past weekend, when I found myself under that same car again, going through the same motions, and replacing that clutch that I installed myself one final time for the friend who I sold the car to.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Real McCoy - Run Away

This song hit it big on the airwaves in 1995. I recorded it off the radio (remember when THAT was how we acquired the music we liked illegally?) and I took the tape that contained this song and plenty of other 1995-esque hits on a camping trip with my family. I can't remember where we were camping. It may have been Pomme DeTerre. I just remember rocking out to this song in my little tent with my big clunky mid-90's headphones on.

Friday, August 24, 2007

T.A.T.U. - All The Things She Said

When this song hit the airwaves my main passion was locksmithing. Specifically, messing with electronic combination locks meant for ATMs and floor vaults. This song brings back memories of me sitting in the kitchen of my old apartment with cables, keypads, spindles, housings and batteries strewn about. A screwdriver, soldering iron, a logic probe and a multi-tester are nearby. The smell and sound of sizzling soldering tip cleaner fills the air.

Gin Blossoms- Hey Jealousy

This song reminds me of my 11th grade English class. One day, one of the students wore a Gin Blossoms t-shirt to class and this song got stuck in my head while I was writing an essay. The class was taught by my Aunt Kathy. Technically, she was my first-cousin once removed -- the daughter of my grandmother's sister and parent to some of my second cousins. To me, she was just "Aunt Kathy" outside the classroom and "Mrs. Adriance" in the classroom.

Kathy died from complications of breast cancer the summer after I took her English class. :(

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Silver Shadow - High Society

Racing in my first autocross event in my Focus. Simple as that. I'm in the paddocks waiting to take off, wearing a stifling full-face helmet, and I have the Slinky album playing. This is one of the songs I heard while I waited. Why this doesn't conjure up some other memory, I have no clue. I've heard the track hundreds of times.

Paul van Dyk - Vega

I have several versions of this song, but I'm talking about the one found on D:Fuse's People compilation/mix album. This song was being pumped over the speakers while my friend Chris and I installed a 75-shot Nitrous Express kit on his Focus, and that's what it reminds me of. The smell of fuel, the feel of teflon tape, installing all kinds of safety sensors and switches, running braided lines and wires all over the place. Those were some good times. And boy, did his car haul ass when we were done!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Cranberries - Twenty One

The bus ride to IMPACT, a church leadership conference thinly disguised as a snow skiing trip. I was going to be away from everything I liked except for my best friend at the time, Ryan, who was there with me. This song brings back the whole bus ride to Colorado to memory. Quite a few interesting turning points in my life happened on the trip. Some good, some bad, and some neutral.

The Verve - Bittersweet Symphony

I forget the reason, but I had to take my dad to work at 5:00AM one morning so that I could use his Altima to get around. It was a chilly spring morning. What sticks in my mind is hearing this song on the radio as I drove towards JCCC where I was both working and taking classes, but the whole day gets brought back to my memory when I hear this song.

I was taking photography, small-engine repair, technical writing, and a few other classes. After my dad got out of the passenger seat, I reached into the back and grabbed the rugged-yet-tattered camera case, bringing it to the front seat to keep me company. The rest of the day was totally mundane. In fact, being awake at 4:00AM and using my dad's car were the only thing out of the ordinary.

Frankie Bones - All The Way Home

I'm tossing a rather expensive 42,000 RPM electric motor into an LXX Char-G chassis that will get a snazzy-looking Nissan Skyline GT-R R34 replica shell over it when I'm done. And boy, will it be fast. At least 10 miles per hour in real life.

Congrats! You've got more than $50 invested in an illegally imported radio control car that can go 10 miles per hour, and you think it's fast!

What the hell was I thinking?!

I was on a brief, expensive kick of modifying the hell out of stupid little radio controlled cars such as Zip-Zaps and Bit Char-Gs. They were smaller than matchbox cars, and -- once modified, pretty fast considering their size. If memory serves me correctly, this was in late 2002.

This song is off of a demo mix CD for Sonic Groove, a (now defunct) record label and vinyl shop in New York started by electronic music guru-brothers Adam X and Frankie Bones with Heather Heart as co-owner.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Dave Matthews Band - Crash

This song reminds me about my first car in general and many of the bizarre adventures I had with it. It was a metallic red -- almost maroon -- 1981 Honda Accord. Very much like the first one on this page.

Why does this song conjure up memories of a car that's darn near as old as I am? I have no idea. Maybe it's because I both acquired it and abandoned it as the end result of a crash.

It was originally my grandmother's car, and I rode from my childhood home in Columbus, NE to Leawood, KS several times in it when my grandma would come to pick me up for a long weekend in "Kansas" which seemed like forever away. My parents acquired it on Christmas of 1990 when my Grandmother replaced this car with the 1991 Accord that she still drives to this very day.

My dad totalled it, and after having it fixed, passed it on to me when I was 16 in 1995. I kept it until 1998 when -- after being run off the highway by a semi -- I traded it in on my 1995 Escort. For those few years I had it, it was a great car.

I still miss it.

Hybrid - If I Survive

I'd just packed my proverbial bags at a local information security company, setting foot outside their door for what was sure to be the last time. Sick and tired of their goofy games, their crappy compensation, their politics, and their incessant prying into my personal life, I resigned my position effective immediately. With that, I gathered up the few books and the coffeemaker I kept in my office. I placed my belongings into a printer paper box and stepped out onto the crispy freak snow that was hiding under a thin layer of ice on that cold March evening. One of the many mix CDs I had made was in the CD player of my car. I found this track and blasted it as I drove to my other job... my only job.

To me, this song is one of freedom that transcends hardship and angst.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Blues Traveler - Hook

I had this song stuck in my head riding my green mountain bike to school one morning. This song will forever bring back the memories of my occasional riding to high school.

It was 16 miles round trip. I'd usually ride around the country block (4 miles) once more on the way home to round it up to 20.

Laurent Wolf - Happy TV

Coming back from a pizza delivery in my Escort, driving down 101st street out by Falcon Ridge, plotting to take over the world. This song was blasting as I did this.

I'd left Kozoru recently and had retreated back to pizza delivery a few nights per week while I was technically on a self-inflicted month-long vacation from real work while I try to figure out what I'm going to do with my life. I like driving when it's not on the highway in rush hour, and delivering pizza not only made pretty good cash for part time work, but it gave me loads of time to think. My plan to take over the world was not quite as such, but I was working on a business plan to launch my own company. I came up with a lot of good ideas while driving.

I still have a 3" ring binder full of marketing ideas, my business plan, and all that jazz. Maybe someday I'll actually go for it.

DJ Eyal - Dreamcatcher

Zipping northbound on I-35 on my way to work on some random July morning in 2000. It's about 9:30 AM, and I'm driving from one job (JCCC) to the next (FishNet Security). I'm going way, way over the speed limit. Triple digits, likely. I'm not running late, I'm just having a great time enjoying my relatively new car on a highway that's almost completely empty.

Eiffel 65 - Europop

Sitting in my room (the entire basement of my parents place, basically) building and programming the robot to end all robots (or not) out of Lego Mindstorms and the NQC language.

The end result, some 2 days later would be a tread-propelled device that would erase the program memory and reboot any other Lego Mindstorms RCX via the infrared programming interface. Barring that, it would attempt to forcefully knock over whatever is in its way. It could tell when it ran into something. It would then back up a bit, ram whatever it hit, then back up and turn a random number of degrees then proceed forward. It could not sense the difference between the arena wall or its opponent, but with any luck, it wouldn't need to. I christened it "Dain Bramage" for good reason.

This was being built in response to a friend of mine who wanted to have a "BattleBots" style challenge, where the robots had to operate in an arena made from a cheap kid's wading pool. First robot to get disabled or stuck loses the match. The great thing is there is no outside control. Our robots had to detect and disable the other robot autonomously.

For what it's worth, his robot was built to shuffle about and flip over its opponent. Had it flipped mine over, I would have lost. As it went, his bot lasted less than 30 seconds before it beeped twice and stopped running. Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Nine Inch Nails - A Warm Place

I'm carrying the limp remains of my dog, Bingo, out to the back yard after having to put him down. His bad teeth got so bad that he couldn't even eat wet food. His hip problems had gotten so bad that he couldn't stand on his own, and he was no longer enjoying his time here on earth. This was the toughest decision I have ever had to make, and my father and I made it together. This song is a moving, somber and powerful instrumental ballad. It is Bingo's anthem.

Crash Test Dummies - Mmm Mmm Mmm Mmm

I'm printing contact photo proofs from the film I just developed in the makeshift darkroom at my grandparents' house. This is another home-school era memory/song combination. I was humming this song, perhaps even singing it to myself as I waited for the seconds to tick by on the timer for the contact proofs.

Ace of Base - The Sign

I was doing home-school Algebra in 1993, sitting at the round, hammered-glass topped kitchen table at my grandparents' place. It was a little before lunch time, and I was anxious to get through my studies so that I could go work with my grandfather in the shop. While I wasn't listening to this song at the moment, it was stuck in my head all day long that day.

Memories and Random Tunage (Intro)

I love music. I listen to music whenever I can. I hum or sing along. Sometimes, I play along with music on my keyboards or bass guitar. I also try (and usually fail) to create music on occasion.

My mind ties memories to songs, and vice versa. I'll hear a tune and it'll stir up a memory. It's the same memory every time I hear it, too. Sometimes, I'll be thinking about my past, and a memory will get a song stuck in my head.

Sometimes it's because I was listening to a song when something happened, or maybe I was humming the tune to myself. Sometimes, a song will bring back not a specific time in history, but a memory of a time in my life, or a memory of doing something mundane that I've done a hundred times or more.

So, here's the game. Whenever I think of a song/memory combination, I'll post it. Simple as that. Comment on it. Point and laugh. Do whatever.