Random Notes 2


November, 1999




After a summer of long distance big break ups, long distance flings and a few short distance hook-ups, the fall of ’99 had me settling into a steady relationship with a real, live local woman.

As it turned out, Carrie had a crush on me long before our first encounter. She had been helping Jason edit Wish You Were Here and found the guy playing “Bob” to be extremely cute and immensely hilarious. So with her coaxing, Jason had organized that first meet-and-greet, watching fireworks together on the Esplanade. The day didn’t go according to her plan (which you can read about HERE), but I continued to unknowingly woo her with my multiple takes of prerecorded charms.

At our second get together, she stepped up her flirting to break through my dense exterior and I finally got a clue. So by our unplanned and unexpected third encounter, we were both on the same page. And like that, I had a girlfriend.

An adorable, college-senior girlfriend, no less. Carrie was a smart, funny, foul-mouthed Irish spitfire. For the most part, she’s a sweet, innocent little thing (seriously– she was tiny), but she could go off at a moment’s notice. Add tequila and stand back. And, man, did we add tequila. We were in Boston, after all, so Friday and Saturday nights meant hitting a bar and stumbling home. The Purple Shamrock was near her place. Mary Ann’s was near mine. Sometime’s we’d go to Big City for some billiards, or mix it up with some random after work spot in the city. Wherever we went, the neighborhood knew when we left. We were loud drunks, and we were always singing.

As I’ve said before, in a very short time, we fell perfectly into place. After a few weeks time, we weren’t “dating,” we were being. I wanted to be at her side as often as possible. We would fit in our time together between my work and her studies, and Thursday was always a night we would spend together. That weekly routine became my favorite part of that year. I’d leave Fidelity and make my way to the Park Street station, where the Red Line and Green Line converged. I would wait on the Green Line level, above the stairs leading up from the incoming Red Line trains. Carrie was coming in from a part time job she held in Harvard Square.

I would lean over the brick divide, looking down on the commuters as the climbed up like a geyser of tops of heads. No faces, just hats and hair. And I never failed to recognize hers. Every Thursday I’d wait there, listening to my mixtape of the moment, waiting to see the top of her head appear. And when it did, there were butterflies and happiness. Then we’d share a train back to my place, grab dinner, watch Friends, have sex, watch ER, have more sex. Life was good.

But none of the above can really capture the utter bliss of that time with Carrie. I had never been more myself with anyone else before. There was just such an ease to being with her. And I think she was having the same experience. We were giddy. But not giddy in love– giddy with excitement at being with somebody we didn’t have to struggle with or change ourselves for. And we laughed all the time.

And that’s actually the best way to summarize the fall of 1999 with Carrie: we laughed all the time.

Also a lot of sex.



  • “Wired On” – Echobelly
  • “Tootie” – Hootie and the Blowfish
  • “The Bartender and the Thief” – Stereophonics  “Breakout” – Foo Fighters
  • “Free to Go” – The Folk Implosion
  • “Superman” – Goldfinger
  • “Black Star” – Radiohead
  • “Time Capsule” – Matthew Sweet
  • “Because of You” – Letters to Cleo
  • “Speech Bubble” – Longpigs
  • “Earman” – Blinker the Star
  • “Zavalov House” – Owsley  “Air Guitar” – Ben and Jason
  • “Jesus Came From Outta Space” – Supergrass
  • “Left of the Dial” – The Replacements
  • “That Bug Bit Me” – The Mighty Mighty Bosstones
  • “Soft Serve” – Soul Coughing
  • “The Cowboy Song” – Gomez


  • “Last Farewell” – Kula Shaker
  • “Hermes Bird” – Remy Zero
  • “Everyone Says That You’re So Fragile” – Idlewild
  • “The Field” – Throwing Muses
  • “July” – Ocean Colour Scene
  • “Sidewalk” – Built to Spill
  • “Your Star Will Shine” – The Stone Roses
  • “Hammering In My Head” – Garbage  “Ladyfingers” – Luscious Jackson
  • “Motto” – Less Than Jake
  • “Train Song” – Phish
  • “Troubled Times” – Fountains of Wayne
  • “Make No Sound” – Gomez
  • “As Wicked” – Rancid
  • “The Last Laugh of the Laughter” – Travis
  • “Magic” – Ben Folds

Random Notes 2 is not a sequel. It’s a replacement. I can’t recall what happened to the first Random Notes tape. It may have gotten eaten by my Walkman. It may have gotten lost on the T somewhere. Or maybe I just felt I could make it better by replacing the Stereophonics with the Foo Fighters.

And these Random Notes were just that– a bunch of tracks I usually skip over when song selecting. I was doing my best to not fall into the same patterns. Being with Carrie was helping me do that, along with buying more CD’s.

The Foo Fighter’s third album had just come out, and so I added “Breakout” to the re-release of this mixtape. It’s a rocking little ditty with a hard and fast outdo that segues perfectly into The Folk Implosion’s “Free to Go.”

Though I was picking songs that don’t usually stand out, “Free to Go” became a staple of my mixtape tracklists for years to come. It’s one of those effortlessly beautiful pop songs that sounds like it has simply always existed.

Matthew Sweet’s “Time Capsule,” is another track that had been hiding from me until this mix. It also became a regular.

“Earman” is another track I included more often after throwing it in here. It’s a weird little song, sharing the story of a bogeyman that steals your ear.  Lyrically, it’s effectively creepy.  Musically, it’s a toe-tapping jaunt. I’ve always loved the juxtaposition and would often share this track on friends’ mixes.

Most of the rest of the tracks are sufficiently second string. Not the best from the band, not the worst. And overall, this is a decent tape– save for some technical glitches here and there.


There was a time I started getting into soft, acoustic music and bands. I think Ben and Jason may have kicked off this movement. Their debut, Emoticons, was full of tunes like “Air Guitar,” and I would wander aimlessly through the Back Bay listening to each emotive track, contemplating my life choices. Until it was time to drink with Carrie, then it was back to something loud.


I can’t remember if Hootie has come up in this section before. I think so. And I thought about including them again for “Tootie” here. I like Hootie and I like “Tootie,” but it’s not a good fit for this mix, especially right at the start. Too slow.

But what I’ll highlight here is Garbage and Luscious Jackson. They’re both positioned at Track 8 on Side B, with Luscious Jackson making the cut on this second version of this mix. I give them both a “Wait. What? Why?” because they’re sort of one-hit wonders of my little mixtape world. I’ve gave them a shot, but they never stuck. In fact, I had forgotten that I even ever owned a Luscious Jackson album, and so for that, they get this installments honors.

PS: I do currently own a Luscious Jackson album.


This was a tough choice. These tracks, by the nature of this mix, aren’t immediate standouts. “Free to Go” and “Time Capsule” did become regulars. And no one could complain if I picked “Left of the Dial” here. But as I was driving around listening to the tape the last few weeks, Throwing Muses “The Field” always made me smile. Maybe it’s the chiming, bounce guitar lick that opens the track and carries the song throughout, or maybe it’s accompanying bass line, or maybe its Kristin Hersh’s distinctive vocals. Or, you know, probably all of those things.

And after 10 minutes of looking… I can’t find an embeddable clip for you to enjoy said track. Not on Spotify, either. That’s too bad for you, ’cause it’s a great song.

You’re on your own, people. It’s on Limbo.  Go buy the album.


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