Keep me out of the bow if there's paddling to be done. I think that's the lesson here.
You know how some people dedicate their lives to their community or the environment or the betterment of humanity? I'm the same way! Only I've dedicated my life to ridiculously overthought playlists.
Anyhoo. For that reason, or other reasons, or maybe no reason at all, some of you have been asking for a Bring Limes playlist. Something summery and new. So without further ado, here are The Float Songs. 33 tracks hand-picked with floating in mind: On a placid lake, or a shimmering sea, or in the state of Colorado if you know what I mean.
I'll post some additional lists throughout the summer. Enjoy.
Last weekend my mom and I met in Los Angeles for a wayward run down the coast. According to the Google machine, the drive to San Diego takes two hours. We wisely gave it four days.
The first morning found us on Manhattan Beach at 6 a.m. The grey dawn was working its way up to 60 degrees – water temps were cooler than that. A line-up of wet-suited surfers bobbled out along the second break.
Locals only. And my mom.
I had a surfboard that I snagged from our AirBnB. She had a body board. I have no idea if she's ever used one before. I realize now that I never asked. In my defense, she was in the water and paddling out before I had a chance to inquire.
We got pounded by the waves that day, and the next, and the days after that. It's what the ocean does best: it reminds us of where we stand. It pounds and pushes and puts us in our place. But then occasionally, whether we deserve it or not, it lets us ride. Fast and free and grinning like children.
Life can be the same way. And so it came to be, for four days last week, that my mom and I rode fast and free.
From sea level, to the rooftop bar at Hotel Casa Del Camino, to the wonderfully curvy road leading to the 6,000 foot peak of Palomar Mountain. And then down, down, down, lost maybe a little, until we finally dropped right into the heart of San Diego as if that was the plan all along. Music loud, top town, fueled by joy and a massive cache of roadside-stand strawberries.
Along the way, I learned that my mom can road trip like a champion. I also learned that, as a child, I had trouble pronouncing "T" sounds. So when I wanted my toy truck I'd yell "Fuck!" Or when passing the fire station: "Fire Fuck! Fire Fuck!" This anecdote has no bearing on our road trip, other than it never would have come up otherwise. Also, I'll add, it makes me very very happy.
I've always recommended taking any road trip, anytime, headed anywhere, alone or with anyone who's wired right for road trips. It's never a bad idea. But if you haven't tried it with your mom? Damn junior! You need to get on that!
This past weekend was Trout Camp.
It's an annual gathering, the first weekend in May, in the driftless region of SW Wisconsin. And yes, although temperatures routinely get below freezing at night, and my traditional Saturday swim is a cold one, this trip is the one that officially kicks off summer in my mind. So here we go.
Seems this little fella has a taste for Cruzan rum. That's one smart lesser antillean bullfinch.
Well, it's officially the first day of summer. And I've found my official summer jam.
I didn't realize this was the case the first five or six times I heard Wow by Beck. My initial take was that it's another one of those interesting style exercises that Beck does from time to time. A reverb-y flute-EDM mashup with a hip hop bottom end. AKA "interesting style exercise" right?
But no! Upon the next 500 listens I came to realize it's as good as anything he's ever done. His downbeat 2002 album Sea Change is one of my favorite records of all time. But nothing beats happy Beck. And this is Beck at his happiest.
Wow shimmers and glistens. It makes you wanna shake your ass, but slow and grind-y even though you know you're too old for that shit. And the lyrics, a perfect mix of positivity and wtf.
It's my life, your life
Live it once, can't live it twice
So nice, so nice
Song's like a tidal wave, take you on a getaway
My friends, your friends
Love 'em every day like it's just about to end
Now we're pissin' in the wind cause it's so pine fresh
Yeah I, I wanna get it like
I love this song.
The lake is looking a little different than it did in June and July and August.
It was somewhere in there, July I believe, that I came across perhaps the best description of summer that I ever read: "Hazy and Unfiltered." Now, I was reading the label of my beer bottle at the time: a fine wheat with a wedge of homegrown lemon crammed down the neck.
"Hazy and unfiltered," of course, was describing the cloudy nature of the Bavarian-style wheat beer inside. But I'll be damned if it didn't nail the essence of summer too. Especially right then: Boat adrift. Sun and skin. Music shimmery and alive.
The boat (and the sun and the skin) have all been put into storage for the winter. But the music? I held on to that. Give this mix a try if the weather's got you down these days. It's a mellow mix of a thing. It might make you happy. It might make you sleepy. It's the dank nug of playlists.