What if you could take a collection of short memories, weird and otherwise, and store them on your iPod? Then people could scroll through and play them back at their leisure. Would some play in loop mode? What would some of yours be?

Nick Belardes iPod Memory List:

Flock of fat green parakeets battle with a mockingbird over Bakersfield skies.

Tarantula walks on sweaty palm.

Rich Ferguson screams “Bones! Bones! Bones!”

Explosion behind rocket site mountain at Edwards Air Force Base.

Ghost in a chair with black eyes and screaming mouth.

Swim with a seal.

Little girl laughs on phone in conversation about hamsters biting belly hair.

Score hat trick in roller hockey game.

Train wrecks into coffee truck. Random opera singer on train holds out phone with Twitter photo of me.

Catch a shark.

Find a $20 bill.

Sergio Aragones draws a Mad Magazine cartoon of himself in a book that mentions him drawing Mad Magazine cartoons.

A dream about Bono being one of the pals.

Over the handlebars bike crash.

Stealing television.

Near swerving car collision through red light traffic.

Lightning crashes into mountain.

Desert rainbows everywhere.

*READ: Part One

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NICK BELARDES is illustrator of NYT Best-Selling Novel by Jonathan Evison West of Here (2011), author of Random Obsessions (2009), Lords (2005), and the first literary Twitter novel: Small Places (2010). An author, poet, and screenwriter for Hectic Films, Belardes turned TV/online journalist overnight after blogging his way to success. His articles and essays have appeared on the homepage of CNN.com and other news sites across America. You can find Nick on Facebook and Twitter.

110 responses to “My iPod ‘Real Memories’ List: 2”

  1. 7th grade. At the bathroom sink. Pressing with my index finger shaved follicles of my dad’s facial hair and placing them here and there on my chin in an effort to look to fellow classmates in 7th grade as though I am able to grow facial hair.

    15-years-old. The old, abandoned school. (Once discussed this on TNB) Friend Ricky takes shit in vacant toilet. Can’t find toilet paper. Wipes ass with roll of pink wall insulation. Walks like duck for week solid because he has fiberglass embedded in rectum.

    16-years-old. Friend of mine has no gas money. Female. She’s dating drummer in my rock band and sleeping with the guitarist on the side. She says she’ll strip for gas money. I have gas money. My friend, singer in rock band, is with me. I play bass. She strips for gas money then decides to give me and the guitarist handjobs while laying between us in bed. Greatest night of my life when I was 16. Realize friend who dates drummer, sleeps with the guitarist, and gives me, the bass player, and my friend, the singer, handjob, deserves the nickname her ex-boyfriend once gave her: cum dumpster.

  2. Jessica Blau says:

    OOOOh, I like this! I see it’s not in chronological order. Or was Rich there in your childhood screaming, BONES BONES!? OR, was Rich on an episode of Star Trek when it was a real TV series with a real live not-a -tV-pitchman William Shatner?

  3. Slade Ham says:

    Man, to be able to scroll through all of them with a click-wheel. I like the metaphor though. It works. Especially with what I was writing this past week, it worked just like my iPod. With music I tend to hit on some random song that reminds me of another song that reminds me of a singer who sounded like someone else that I would never have remembered if I hadn’t listened to that first song in the first place.

    Give it a decade or so, and Apple will almost certainly have the market cornered on the iMind.

  4. Richard Cox says:

    I like your list and I like the concept. Memories are strange because they aren’t recalled with precision. That makes them our best and worst enemies. And while that is part of what defines our humanness, I can’t help but wonder if it’s a zero sum game, and if it would be better to recall them all perfectly.

    A few of my friendships are contained largely with IM, and I unquestionably love that I can go back and reference previous conversations verbatim. For one thing if I forget what someone said three months ago I can go back and find it, and also when I’m told I said one thing but I know I said another, now I have proof.

    Pictures and video have been our memory keepers for a long time but I think it won’t be too long before we can supplement our brains with backup flash memory. I would definitely be an early adopter.

    • And holographic makeup mood changers. I think we can corner the market on all kinds of gadgets if we try hard enough.

      I tend to not keep IMs. Mostly I just let them float into the ether…

  5. Becky says:

    Most of my most vivid memories are really not fit for public consumption.

    Like, if you did the iPod shuffle game, but with memories, where you have to list the first 10 memories it returns (“no cheating!”) when placed on shuffle, how many of us would lie?

    I probably would.

    • But then, you would get to select what memories are on the iPod. I would definitely keep most of my private moments to myself or in ‘locked’ mode.

      • Becky says:

        Well, right. So that presupposes some level of persona crafting. A greatest hits. I’m more curious to know about people’s Meatloaf and Barry Manilow than I am to know about their…I don’t know.

        What’s even cool these days?

        Anyway, you get my point. The kinds of things we would choose would probably not actually be very helpful to anyone who was actually trying to get to know us.

        Or are these meant to be entertainments?

    • Slade Ham says:

      I would lie. No doubt. Musically speaking too, that’s exactly why I don’t put my iPod on shuffle when I have friends in the car. Who wants to try to justify Meat Loaf?

      • Dear God, Slade. Meatloaf? Man. hahahaha… True dat. Lots of lying would be going on.

        I would loop back my old bike wreck though. That was badass.

      • Richard Cox says:

        I mistakenly left my iPod at my friend’s house. He’s a giant music snob and when I finally got it back I found a new playlist on it full of the most embarrassing songs in my library.

        I mean he took the time to search for the most ridiculous music. Asshole.

        • Slade Ham says:

          Don’t ever leave your iPod around me then, hahaha. I like your friend. He understands that sometimes it’s worth the painstaking effort to pull a really good prank. Hahahaha. That might have taken him all afternoon… but I’m certain it was worth it.

        • Richard Cox says:

          The painstaking effort is worth it and gratifying when it’s me playing the joke on someone else. Of course. It doesn’t work the other way around. Hahaha.

          I have more than one iPod. Clearly I need to make one private and one public, the public one containing only socially respectable music selections.

        • What’s your favorite playlist right now?

        • Richard Cox says:

          I’ve been listening to a mix Duke made for me, actually. I’m into post rock/ambient, particularly while writing, and he found some bands I hadn’t heard of.

          I’ve also been listening a lot lately to HṚṢṬA and Slint.

          All this, of course, when I’m not secretly feeding my bad 80s music addiction.

          How about you?

        • I’m pretty basic. U2, My Morning Jacket, Lloyd Cole (he was around in the 80s) and Wilco. Haven’t been listening to much else lately.

          I don’t know HRSTA and Slint. I’m sure I’d like them though. I like all kinds of stuff.

        • D.R. Haney says:

          Slint is the shit! I’m glad I didn’t include them on the CD, Richard (should you see this). Of course, they really only put out two records.

  6. Becky says:

    Okay, I have a couple.

    1: 1993. Riding in 80-something GMC truck. I say, “Well your boyfriend is fuckin’ stupid. MY boyfriend…” Cut off. Sound of tires breaking on gravel, blur, truck interior, ground. Stand up to find myself outside of truck, watching it speed away. Swear.

    2: Standing in corner of room at bed and breakfast looking at old-timey pictures. Church picnic, boy baby in dress, first car in town…

    Hear, “Becky?” come from boyfriend, behind me, still in bed.



    3. Attempted explanation of grammatically valid sentence: “Buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo buffalo buffalo Buffalo buffalo” to a patio full of drunk BBQers.

  7. jeannie says:

    The first night I slept at my HS boyfriend’s house, waking up and talking to his mom while still in bed with him. Awkward…

    Perfect summer days in winter, driving PCH to 1000 steps knowing I’ll get a sunburn with the top down.

    Watching my brother laugh as I’m about to get arrested.

    • What the heck? Jeannie. I’m guessing you have some whoppers you can tell. LOL!

      What’s 1000 Steps?

      • jeannie says:

        oh, man do I have stories.

        1000 Steps is a cove in Laguna. It has 1000 stairs to get down to the beach hence the name. It’s a little slice of heaven complete with Hawaii-esque cliffs, hot surfers, and beautiful waves.

  8. Connie says:

    Saturday night country and western music on TV and dancing in the living room with my parents.

    Cruising Chester , driving the car as my friends , in full KISS make-up jump out of the car and spit blood (tomato juice) .

    Taking long walks with my Grandma and talking about all subjects taboo- Grandma “Do you know why women shouldn’t have sex before marriage? So they won’t be sexually dissatisfied with their spouse.”

  9. Connie says:

    yeppers.. full KISS make-up.. not only was I a band nerd, a tv/radio nerd and all things nerdy in school, my friends were equally nerdy. but really it was great fun.

    As for Grandma, I posted a lessor taboo subject she and I discussed. hubba hubba

  10. Connie says:

    Unfortunately no, she was a badass lady tho, and I really can’t name names on who was dressed as KISS… never know who may be reading .

  11. Connie says:

    A memory I would like to delete , last convo with said Grandma when she told me all about her childhood and her monster father.

  12. Driving a racecar in the 911 series at Mesa Marin – twice!

    Hiking the 8.5 mile Panorama Trail from Glacier Point and along Illiloutte Falls to the Mist Trail along Vernal and and Nevada Falls of Yosemite in early June with my sister.

    First snow ski trip to Mammoth Mountain with my sisters after more than 10 years at only Shirley Meadows-now Alta Sierra.

    Getting a horse(pinto) for Christmas when I was 13.

    My first french kiss – grape bubble yum flavored!

    The sweet cool water of lake swimming on a very hot day!

    Playing softball on a warm spring day.

    Grape and lime snowcones after playing softball on a hot summer day.

    Winning the election for cheerleader in 7th grade

    The birth of each of my children

    A phone call from my oldest estranged son asking to come home for Christmas.

    The sweet and crunchy granola I made in my 4th? grade class

    Playing soccer during lunch break when I was around 12

    There are so many more!

    Thanks Nick this was really inspiring!

  13. Lee says:

    my daughter at birth
    my daughter at 1
    my daughter at 2
    my daughter at 3
    my daughter at 4… See More
    my daughter at 5
    my daughter at 6
    my daughter at 7

  14. Connie says:

    aww Nick, that’s a story that had me in hysterics for 8 hours. Thought my dad was gonna have a heart attack before I calmed down, prlly not a story to share .

  15. I’ll scream “Bones, Bones, Bones” in your ears anytime, brother. As for a couple of my iPOD memories…well, for starters, I’d want to have a copy of you reading that poem you read at that record store in Hollywood. Then, I’d want an iPOD memory of Landen singing one of his songs. Any song. I don’t care. I’m not choosey. I just love the way he puts words and music together.

    • Thanks Rich. I would have a whole playlist of Lando singing and Jordan tearing it up on the violin. I could get lost in it. I’d imagine it might be pretty good from their perspective too. I don’t know about my poem. I don’t have that spoken word stage presence that you have. That’s awesome!

  16. Simon Smithson says:

    Bones and ghosts? I’m curious about both of these ghoulish memories…

    – watching a co-worker get vomited on right after I’d said ‘I love the way no one vomits in these toilets’

    – riding the train home from the city as a teenager, the night settling in and wondering at the world around me

    – so many American moments!

    Ah, there’s just too many… such a great concept, amigo.

    • Rich has a poem/song called “Bones.” You can see it on YouTube. It’s awesome.

      Very short version of ghost tale: I didn’t believe in ghosts until I saw what I think was one, sitting in a chair in the dark, across from a haunted bowling alley turned hockey rink. As we left the parking lot late one night after hockey, our headlights shined on it as it sat in a chair in the middle of a driveway entrance to a mobile home park. It had its mouth hanging open and deep black eyes. Two of us saw it as the headlights ran across it. Months later I was heading back from an LA Kings hockey game when this kid in the car said, “Did you know the hockey rink is haunted by this guy who was murdered while sitting in a chair?” At that point I had goosebumps on my goosebumps…

  17. Simone says:

    Great post Nick!

    Did you really let a tarantula walk on your palm? I get goosebumps just thinking about how gross that is.

    Also, where did you swim with the seal?

    The Thai rafting guide calling me “Small” because he couldn’t pronounce my name after repeatedly telling him it was “Simone”. I have a nickname –Mizz Busy Bee. While in Thailand got a tattoo in Thai meaning “Small Bee”.

    The day I got my driver’s license; after attempting it 7 times.

    Getting a gold certificate for a drawing I did of two elephants when I was in 12th Grade.

    My friend asking me to pull his finger so that he could fart.

    My nephew who swore in front of (and at) me for the first time. “F*#@ You!”

    Asking my nephew how old he was turning, he held up his right hand with four fingers up and said “This much” When I repeated the hand gesture with my left hand and asked “This much?” to confirm. He replied, “No” holding up is right hand up again, “This much, with this hand only!”

    Being notified that I’d won a competition, twice in one day. Separate competitions.

    My grandmother (87) using the *“K” word in front of me, without realizing it and continuing with her story. She’s very prim and proper and NEVER uses foul language, EVER.

    *The “K” word = Kaffir a racial term in SA.

    • Simone: your nephew sounds awesome! hahaha.

      I bet the fart one would be a viral hit. And I would love the one of your grandmother telling the story. Two competitions in one day? I don’t think I’ve won anything, ever! That’s really great!

      As for the tarantula. It was on a bet. I told my kid’s 2nd grade teacher if he held it I would too. He was deathly afraid of spiders (as am I). Anyway, he held it. Then I had to. I wanted to die. My kid is 20 now. We still laugh about it.

      The seal swimming incident was in Pismo, California. It’s happened a couple of times while out boogie boarding…

  18. Simone says:

    Nick, my nephew is a gem! He rocks! Another memory of him: My sister was putting a DVD on for him but didn’t want to tell him what movie it was so he kept guessing.

    “Is it the Dinosaur movie?” (meaning Ice Age 3).


    “Is it Toy Story?”


    “Oh Yay!!” When the screen appeared and he recognised the movie he’d watched a hundred times berfore, “Kunt to Fanda!!” (Kung Fu Panda) ha ha ha ha …

    My sister and I had a good giggle about that one.

    I’m glad you still laugh about the tarantula. I’m not sure I’d be able to do that though, I probably would’ve paid out on the bet.

    I’ll google Pismo, CA. Never heard of it before, but sounds interesting. Must’ve been amazing to swim with seals. I’m jelaous.

  19. Oh I love kids. When my oldest (Jordan, 20) was little we were at a football game. He wanted a snack and wanted to go to the confession stand (concession stand). hahaha.

    Pismo is a tiny central California coastal town that appears in many novels. Here’s some videos I took at Pismo:





    • In recent years the town appeared under different names in the YA novels “Gone” (forgot author name) (2008) and “Aries Rising” (2010) (Bonnie Hearn Hill).

      • Simone says:

        Kids Rock!

        Pismo makes me wish I lived in a coastal city / town.

        I had to stop myself from putting my hand through my laptop screen and grabbing one of those cinnamon rolls (chelsea buns). We have a similar ‘bakery’ here called Cinnabon, and man, do they make the most awesome cinnamon rolls EVER! I particulary like the ones with the custard centre.

        Love the song in the background of the Pimpin Pismo Pelican video. Who sings it and what’s the name of the song?

        Thanks for sharing your videos, they’re awesome!

  20. matildakay says:

    This is a great concept and post! Love the memories contained within the blog and the comments. I would love to own an Imind! I’d definitely fill it full of memories I wanted to revisit over and over again.

    It would also be fun to have an app for the Imind that would allow you to create missing memories. It would be great for someone like me without children to create a few children filled memories… just a thought.

  21. Connie says:

    I still want to delete memories, you know the “boy was my face red” moments, such as.. walking across campus in high school and having the wind blow my skirt up and showing everyone my undies.. sigh.. traumatic .

  22. jmblaine says:

    When I was a kid we had this VCR
    that connected to the TV
    by hooking metal prongs
    to screws in the back &
    I thought it would be novel
    to put the screws in the back of my head
    and try to video tape my dreams
    at night.

    Later, but not much later,
    a Pentecostal preacher
    with a magical cadence
    & tone
    said on a Sunday night
    that in Heaven
    we can freeze-frame our
    favorite memories
    & live in them again
    long as we want.

    I believe.

  23. Matt says:

    Nice little list, Nick. Unfortunately, due to this nasty cold I have and the cough medicine I’m on, my iPod mind is still recovering from a serious systems crash. Hope to have fully rebooted in the next couple of days.

    Though I will say this: seals are cute as hell, but damn they can be assholes. I used to go spearfishing a lot as a kid, and they were always stealing my catch.

    • Spearfishing? Is there anything you can’t do? Dude, that’s awesome! Man, seals are assholes.

      • Matt says:

        Well, spearfishing’s easy when you have one of those compressed-air powered spearguns. The seals would always steal the catch off of the tether line belted around my waist.

        I always figured it was more sporting to get into the water with the fish instead of just sneakily hide a hook in bits of food. Gives them a chance to eat me right back.

  24. Matt says:

    Well, I did do a little bit during my brief sojourn in Hawai’i, but no, most of this was here off the coast of southern California. Where, really, the biggest threats to my existence are the seals and seal lions. There are leopard sharks, but they mostly stay way.

    Though every now and then a Great White does turn up, looking to munch on some of those seal.

    • Oh man I remember that poor professor who got killed in Nipomo. Bad stuff there. Still sounds awesome. I’ve never seen anyone spear fish.

      • Matt says:

        She died because she did something incredibly stupid: she went swimming, at dusk, with a bunch of seals. If you’re hanging around at principle Great White feeding time among their primary food source, and you get munched, it’s a little hard for me to feel sorry for you.

        • Yeah, that was a really dumb thing to do. Getting chomped is not a good way to go. I think I’d rather die trying to survive a round with you at a tournament death match. I’d probably only survive by getting disqualified somehow. Not that you can get disqualified in fights to the death. But I’m sure I’d try to find a way.

  25. chingpea says:

    again… all great memories. even those in the comments. we all need bigger iPods…

  26. Erika Rae says:

    Wow – that parakeet/mockingbird battle sounds awesome. I’d buy that app.

  27. Nice list. I wish I could add swimming with seals to a string of memories and put it on shuffle along with my own getting lost in Muir Woods during a summer rain and maybe watching sunrise from Istanbul ferry. Also anything is better when it involves random opera singers with your photo.

    • Hi Nathaniel. I found myself just staring at that photo on your website a few minutes ago. I just loved it. Reminded me of driving through morning deserts in my past…

      Muir Woods wandering sounds beautiful and creepy, since you got lost. And I can’t even imagine the beauty of the Bosphorus, if that’s where you were. I might have my waterways wrong and misspelled.

  28. Man, if I had one of those fancy memory iPods that would drive people nuts… I basically walk around telling stupid stories about myself anyway.

    98% of my stories involve booze, too. I’d just have hundreds of videos stored on it of me falling asleep while something incredibly unlikely happens nearby.

    • You, Mr. Pillow (and Connie) would be best sellers, simply because I imagine you are all equally zany in your daily life. And I don’t mean that in a bad way, but in a way that boring people like me would find addicting to re-live. You would all go viral.

  29. reno says:

    ha! you fucker, you nailed it! nice. now get your ass to so. cal and enlighten me some more. dire need! sos!

  30. D.R. Haney says:

    Actually, Nick, I wrote a piece last year with a few brief memories that your piece brings to mind, though I doubt anyone would ever pay to relive those memories. I don’t know if you ever saw the piece, but if not:


  31. Mary says:

    What, the REAL memory, or MY version of the memory. We all know time and senility are very revisionist indeed.

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