Pod person….

Sometimes satifying a want is beter than satisfying a need. Yesterday I succumbed to the blandishments of the Ceasers and bought an iPod Shuffle. I’ve tried to buy my way out of sadness before, and am a gadget fetishist so that’s clearly what this behavior is about. I already have a twenty gig iRiver mp3 player with a perfectly adequate shuffle function. And a portable cd player with a random function. And a cassette walkman. So there is slim to no justification for springing for this. But I have to say that I am supremely satisfied with the purchase. From the date of its intruduction I’ve been intruiged with the shuffle, which seems to me to be the refinement of a particular idea of how people relate to their music, or rather how I would like to relate to mine. I’m very happy with the narrative of the shuflle, which runs something like this: you’re going on a short trip, so you throw a bunch of things in an overnight bag and just go. My tendency has always been I don’t know what I’ll want so I better take everything. I was heartbroken when my parent’s station wagon wasn’t sturdy enough to carry all of my lps up to my firstdorm room. I spent five thousand dollars moving hundreds of boxes of stuff from the West Coast to the East a few years ago. People are continually commenting on how heavy the bags are that I carry around daily, usually because they are filled with sketchbooks, books to read, drawing implements, priodicals, and other clutter. So the things that people have derided the Shuffle for are actually theraputic for me: the lack of screen, the limited fuctionality. One of the things I’ve noticed about my 20 gig player is that one i have something on it I’m loath to remove it: 20 gigs is enough for me to imagine that it’s a music collection, and so I start to worry if I’m going to need it down the road. With on 512mgs ther’s no way I could have that illusion. I plan on only using it with the autofill function: connect it to computer, autofill it, walk around with it on random play. The effect is one of listening to a very good radio station: all stuff that I’m interested in. Also I just received a huge amount of music from waltzingtree so many of the songs are unknown to me, and it’s a ctually a relief to hear something and to know that it’s futile to try to find out what it is exactly, instead of trying to whip out my player and note what the song is and try to remember it. It is a combination of the physical product it self and the method of use that it is designed to facilitate that appeals to me. The idea of my music collection as a deep well on my desktop machine that I drop a slim white bucket into and enjoy no matter what comes up.

At least I’m using my black sony earbuds and not the painfully poorly designed white ones that come with it

Other news in my life is so complex and dispiriting that it’s a respite not to write about it. But thank oyu all for your many kind expressions of concern and generous gestures


  1. very good to see a posting from you. you’re in my thoughts a lot these days, but I’ve hesitated to write (for reasons of my own disjointed life). hope you are seeing some light on your horizon. Pete xo

  2. My friends with fancy information displays taunt my choice for a Shuffle.

    I thought I was on cloud nine when I got a car that had a 6 CD player. What do I do? I load it up with random mixes that have no rhyme or reason. Just some new stuff littered with old songs I need to get out’ve my system. I have no idea what’s playing at any given time. I just skip if the vibe doesn’t jive.

    Now I don’t burn CDs, I just load up the Shuffle. It’s damn near perfect.

    Well, except for those earbuds that came with it. Those ain’t right.

    S’good to see you scroll by. Buy more stuff if it means you’ll write. I don’t suggest a PSP – no _really good_ games.

  3. You’ve succcintly expressed just what I was trying to write about here – while there are many different ways I listen to music, for the get on the train go to work thing, or for the sit down in the studio for a few hours thing, this is just the right piece of tech: a hunk of plastic that does what I want and that I don’t have to worry about dropping on the floor or cracking the screen of.

    Believe me, if Sony had included clie technology in the PSP, I would have been all over it, since the other purchase that’s been nagging at me for over a year is a new PDA – not that I really need one. But , you know…

  4. Ligtening your load is a good thing. Here’s what I’d like on a shuffle: an easy way to sample/autofill a few hours of programming from favorite online stations –WXYC, Radioparadise, WFMU, et al– to carry around with me. (though WiMax may soon make this obsolete)

  5. Oh you guys…

    So now two of the people whose opinions I care about got a shuffle and got happy.

    Ah! (searing pain…hands moving toward apple store on line….must resist….)

    Of course, if I hit the lottery this weekend, there’s one fewer purchasing decisions!


  6. I pack the same way you do … and move the same way you do … I’m working on letting go … good god you should see my cellar. I wonder if the shuffle would be therapuetic for me? Only if I win one though. The other thing I’m working on is not buying everything that crosses my mind.

  7. Hi. I’m James.

    Bikerbear mark said I should ask you for a copy of your recommenedations for artist statements.

    I’m having my first solo show in August and I need to put something together. I have now experience at writing about my work or my art and would appreciate any guidance or advice.

    thanks in advance.

    life is good πŸ™‚

    JimmyJames in Toronto

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