The Majak Mixtape - Portrait of a Mixtaper as a Young Man

"I'm not what I was last summer/Not who I was in the spring/Tell me, tell me, tell me when will we learn?/We love it and we leave it and watch it burn/Damn this wild young hearts/Damn this wild young hearts"
"Wild Young Hearts," The Noisettes

In the brief time that the mixtape has been in existence, we've done mixtapes for a whole host of things from gay marriage to BP oil spill, Amanda Bynes' twitter, Al/Tipper Gore's divorce, Lindsay Lohan's arrest, Laurence Fishbourne's porn star daughter, and a whole other bevy of pop cultural moments that strike our blogging fancy. We are always looking outward, to the magazine stands, the gossip communities, the Facebooks of others to get our inspirations for our subjects. But for once, we're actually going to look within and give you a mixtape to get to know yours truly better. Think of it as a memoir set to tunes, a musical autobiography of sorts.

Once upon a time, many moons ago, after graduating from high school here in La Crosse, I journeyed off to the small school of UW-RF where I discovered the magic of drunken nights, the nightmare of early mornings, and the high/lows of downloading things from the then insanely popular Kazaa. I had scores and scores and scores of CDs and mixes on my laptop, each one with a theme of sort. It was like the Mixtape in its infancy I suppose.

One of my favorite tunes to listen to in college was "Casual Sex" by The Faint.
The cacophonous noise gave way to sharp electro dance/rock. In those halcyon days of keg parties in townhouses and afterbars in dorm rooms, we used to dance around my friend's living room while dancing to this tune as well Franz Ferdinand's "Take Me Out." It usually ended up just being three folks, but really, you only need yourself to make a dance party happen. Everything after that is gravy.

After graduating from university, I moved back home into the parents' house and started onto my journalism career, initially working at a daily newspaper, manning the news desk. One of my many little responsibilities was proofreading obituaries and writing death notices. For that, the next song up is "Every Day A Little Death" from Stephen Sondheim's A Little Night Music.
Every day I worked, in my own little coffin, my little cubicle, I typed up obits. You'd think it'd give you some new appreciation about life or something meaningful. But it doesn't. At least now in an optimistic way. Death is a business and obits, professions of grief, are also little advertisements for funeral homes. And there is nothing quite like being yelled at, by some disembodied voice on the other end of a phone, for forgetting this vital detail. The only time I ever felt a sting of momentary emotion was typing up the obituary of an infant. But the newspaper world is a beast concerned with deadlines, so it was onto something, a calendar to update, a traffic accident to report, a concerned reader's call to be routed to the right reporter.

After six months, I left this newspaper and started my first job as a freelance, covering the various happenings of a teeny tiny community and its government.

After two years of that, I landed at the Second Supper and my world was promptly changed with just a jump to the left and a step to the right.

The first show I covered was The Muse Theatre's production of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. My writing career and my social life has never been the same. Being a kid who routinely checked out Not Since Carrie: Forty Years of Broadway Musical Flops, getting a job writing preview pieces and reviews of local theatre is a dream situation. And on top of that, I've had the best time with the local tribe of thespians that populate my stories and my Facebook friends lists.

And in life, things are never always roses.

But I'd personally never change one moment, one joke, one review, one fight, one makeup, one second that has been because:

So what's next, who knows. There is always a new viral video to link to, a new song to groove to, a new WTF to laugh about. And we couldn't be more excited for that. And that's what I decided. Now can I get an Amen and a soul clap.

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