Concentrate: Instrumental Playlists

As those of us in North American academe stare down the final weeks of the term, it can be hard to sustain focus. Heck, whatever your job may be, there is much to distract you — in your environment, in your life, in your own head. So, here are some playlists to help you attend to…

12″ Mixes from the 1980s & 1990s

From the late 1970s into the 1990s, producers issued extended mixes — accompanied by instrumental versions, remixes, bonus tracks (songs cut from the record, live versions) — on 12″ records. The same size as a regular LP, each 12″ record had but a few songs on it. It might play at 45 rpm (like a single)…

Emily’s Video Dance Party

During the past week, my six-year-old niece Emily has invited me to — and I have joined — many dance parties.  “Dance party!” she declares, and then goes to the CD player to put on one of the (dance) mixes I’ve made for her.  She then skips directly to her favorite songs, and dances only to…

I Love the ’80s: Dystopia, Nostalgia, and Ready Player One

Kansas State University’s “K-State First” asked me to talk to undergraduates about Ernest Cline‘s Ready Player One (2011), this year’s “First Book,” at a “Beyond the Classroom” event.  So, this past Tuesday (Oct. 1st), I did.  In case it may be of interest to others, I’m posting my (admittedly somewhat hastily assembled) talk here, along with…