2 projects, 2 elections, 2 soundtracks

Since I got my first music cassettes and my first walkman, I’ve become obsessed with specific albums and just listened to them over and over. Music became entangled with specific people, places, and events. Raking leaves in mom’s side yard: Born in the USA. Riding the bus to school: Fascination Street. Walking through north Tacoma: Hunky Dory. Working out at the college gym: Achtung Baby.

As an adult, soundtracks followed me into my working life. Twice now, my work soundtracks have set themselves along with turning points…

Tones On Tail, Summer/Fall 2000

I’m fired up on A List Apart & Webmonkey articles, and learning enough CSS to think, yeah I could totally redo this site to go with the redesign that my boss wants to go with the “rebranding” we’re doing.

Meanwhile, I rip the CD I just got onto my computer; my sweetie has been introducing me to lots of different New Wave/post-punk that I missed because he’s four years older than me. It’s fierce and poppy and jangly, and I love it.

Time to fire up Winamp and blare Tones on Tail over and over while trying to figure out how to do an unholy hybrid table/CSS layout. Oh, and my first stabs at ASP to run a searchable database web thingy.

Not too long after the project is live, while I’m cleaning up odds and ends, fill out my “permanent absentee” ballot, waffling madly between Gore and Nader, and drop it off in the mailbox downstairs. Six weeks later, I’ll be at a new job with new web problems…and the election still won’t be over.

The President’s 2016 Summer Playlist (Daytime), Fall/Winter 2016

We finally get the go-ahead to go forward with the CMS migration I’ve been picking at for over a year. Time to put on the headphones, then.

All the content types. All the views. A theme that looks exactly like our current site, so hopefully no one on the outside will even notice. Editor roles, author experience options. Settings. And then the complicated stuff.

And then this delightful energetic mixtape from Obama. Almost perfect for just dropping into the flow. So I’m singing aloud to Jidenna and Aretha Franklin while yelling at code.

Summer moves into fall, an election approaches, and “we’re going to spend election week finishing up this thing.” But it takes longer than that, because it always does. And an election I was sure about curdles into something else, and music that was about fun becomes a source of defiance.

It looks like Spotify copied that list over into an “Obama White House” account, but I made my own copy, because now everything is off-kilter and uncertain.

Author: Elaine Nelson

Elaine Nelson was directionless with an English degree in the late 90s and then: GODDAMN INTERNET. In her current gig, she wrangles content and content management systems, but her last job was Webmaster, so she's dabbled in all sorts of web work. She's an editor at The Interconnected, previously published in The Pastry Box, and once had a poem published in an anthology of GenX writing, when that was the big new thing.