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Make Me A Mixtape [6/09/2008 04:45:00 PM]:
HPIM1144 Okay, not literally, but that's kind of the idea. Y'see, yours truly will be hopping on a jetplane at the end of this month to fly to beauteously hot Tucson, Arizona (which is a lot neater, somehow, than it was when I was a child & was forced to spend my summers there). There I'll meet up with my Dad & drive north listening to his Neil Diamond's Greatest Hits CD on infinite repeat, all the way up to Flagstaff & the Grand Canyon, where we'll fulfill Dad's lifelong desire to hike the damn thing.

We're no Supermen, mind you -- I think the trail we're taking (Bright Angel Trail down from the South Rim, hang around at the bottom a bit, visit Phantom Ranch, then back up to the North Rim, where we'll pass out & wait for the once-a-day shuttle bus back to the car) is pretty much the Grandma Route -- but Dad's planned the whole thing out pretty nicely (I hope), so it should be a cool, if painful and exhausting, trip. If we don't die, that is, or collapse out of sheer exhaustion because we're both in a lot worse shape than we think we are (honestly, I think he's in better shape right now than me).

And yes, over there on the right is my daughter, who's mad as hell that she doesn't get to go with Daddy & Grandpa. Assuming I survive this, munchkin, I promise...

At any rate, seeing as I'm going to be stuck with my Dad's godawful musical tastes for a full week, I've been frantically cramming my iPod full of as much "Grand Canyon-esque" music as I could possibly think of (to be fair, he's bought his very first MP3 player for this trip for pretty much the same reason). I tend to get a little nuts about stuff like this -- for our last trip, to Sweden, I packed my iPod with candy-shiny-sweet Swedish/Norwegian pop, spending hours and hours culling through piles of music to see what the absolute perfect songs would be, y'know? In the end, sadly, since I was traveling with the wife, the midget, & my wife's mom, there never really was any "alone-time" to ever listen to the damn playlist.

On the good side, the last time we went to England I did pretty much the same thing; I had two separate playlists, one of more pastoral, folky British stuff (for those long drives through the twee English countryside, obviously) and one of more Mod-ish, urban-sounding stuff. And again, it being a "family" trip, there wasn't a whole lot of time on my own, so the iPod stayed in my backpack for 95% of the trip (other than the mind-destroyingly long plane ride, that is).

One day, though, I ended up by myself on the train out from London to Windsor, sick as a dog and wishing I'd done like I almost had and stayed on the platform 'til I could catch the bus back to my sister-in-law's house. So, since nobody was paying much attention to me and standing felt better for my stomach & head than sitting, I put on the headphones and went to stand by the doors, watching the bleak train tunnels roll by. And listening to the "urban England" playlist was freakin' perfect, I swear -- The Jam really is the best possible soundtrack for the blighted, graffitied, concrete-and-rubbish side of Britain. (Although yeah, Cock Sparrer and New Model Army worked pretty well, too.)

These days, though, my Music Library's big enough it's gotten away from me, and so despite already spending a ridiculous amount of time picking and choosing songs for this next trip, I'm left feeling like I'm missing a whole bunch of songs I could be putting on my rapidly-growing Grand Canyon playlist. I'm also feeling a bit more pressured since I long ago topped out my iPod and now have to judiciously remove stuff if I want to put anything "new" on there -- I already had to remove some stuff so I could fit Joel R. Phelps' awesome Blackbird on there.

So, seeing as I've pretty much hit a wall, I figured I'd throw it out there for any & all to contribute -- any suggestions? Anything particularly Grand Canyon-like that I ought to put on there? I'm not talking specifically about songs that refer to the Grand Canyon, mind you (although I've already got Sugar's "Hoover Dam," which isn't too far from there), but more about songs that'd work for me hiking my out-of-shape ass down into the heatstroke-inducing bowels of the earth and/or staring up at the clear-black night sky for the first time this decade. I've kinda been leaning towards lower-key, more stark, country/spacey-sounding stuff so far -- Explosions in the Sky, Son Volt, Damien Jurado, Death Cab, etc. -- but hell, I'd love to hear ideas, if anybody's got any.

Comment away, if you feel so inclined...

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