March, 2005 Edition

by Ms. Duh
Contributing Columnist

Chapter... uh...

Eh, we're taking a break from the adventure.

Mainly because I've gotten nary and idea of how the thing is really going to end.

So, as I was scouring the internet, checking the email, and rifling through blogs for ideas I could plagiarize, I ran across an email from saying my ipod is on backorder... again.

Yes. I know you're shocked. I, who would never buy an iPod, and snicker at people who spend upwards of $300 for what I consider to be a walkman with a new white suit on, bought an iPod. An iPod shuffle to be exact. With an subscription, I was able to, theoretically, buy an iPod for $49 bucks. I say this word, theoretically, because I had ordered the iPod 5 weeks ago.

Steve Jobs made me an offer I couldn't refuse. A cheap, sturdy iPod. He neglected to tell me, tho, that it was all an illusion. I am never going to get this iPod. I know it now. It is like my Holy Grail, now ever hopeful that I might get this ipod.

But if I watch the tube, everybody's got an ipod but me. The local Chevy dealer apparently has a buttload of them and if I buy a truck, I can have one. Ditto for the hot tub and spa dealer down the street. This little music player is now a give away item. So. Somebody give one away to me. I have always thought that this thing was overpriced little affectation, something gimmicky and niche markety. I never thought it would take hold of the culture and seed a giant cottage industry birthing a plethora of companies offering skins, speakers, carrying cases, (shudder) socks, and whatever else you could attach to the thing.

It and the iTunes music store have changed the way people listen to their music. Now, we know that we don't have to buy the crap to get to the gold. We can pick and choose what music we want to listen to, and as the record industry and artists wrap their collective heads around how this change in the paradigm will effect their bottom line, they furiously tread water to keep atop the technological wave that threatens to drown them and the status quo they have used to sap us of our loot. No longer is the artist dictating his musical "vision" to us or is it adequate that they need only produce a couple of hits on a platter to move an album. Artist like Metallica and Pink Floyd may have these vast, complicated musical house of cards they want to build for me, but... I don't have to listen to them. Cool. We see music differently now, able to get to the material we want, while ignoring the crap we dislike. Such cherry-picking of music and whether it's really a beneficial trend for the industry is another column, another argument, for another time. Let's just assume its a GOOD thing.

Now, I can get behind iTunes. At first, I didn't, but having all my music right at hand, and being able to get ANY song in the world that I want with out dredging through songs I can live without, made me a convert. I can get ANY music I want, possess it and play it from Starland's Vocal Band's "Afternoon Delight," to Violent Femmes' "Add It Up," to Fannie's "Butterboy," to Seatbelts' "Ask DNA." I can now turn my nose up at all the songs I don't like and burn Led Zepp's "Stairway to Heaven" right after Charlene's "Never Been To Me." And I can listen to all this on my Mac, whilst watching computerized visual manifestations of what I can only assume is what Steve Jobs sees when he eats those funny brownies that he bakes on those lonely Sundays when he's all alone at home. I think they are for his glaucoma.

But on the other side of that is the iPod.

I "meh-ed" at the iPod. I have been immune to draw of the iPod, and felt no need to get one. I don't have a vast musical collection, and I ain't that desperate to listen to it most of the time. Music is not the background of my life, and if given the choice, I'd rather sit outside on a quiet spring night, watching the dog eat grass. I hate listening to music through earphones, and I really can't see me owning something that expensive that I will just lose or drop in the toilet. I don't own one, didn't want one, had no intention of buying one. Not the 40 gig, not the 20 gig, not the iPod mini, not any of them. Music is just not that important to me. And the iPod certainly wasn't. Something I didn't particularly need or want.

Until the iPod Shuffle. It was small and cheap. Two things I pride myself on being. A small cheap woman. It's the pod for my lifestyle. My non-music dominated lifestyle. I am the type who can listen to one song over and over again. I am the type who watches the same favorite movie over and over again, for years and years. I am the type who is really hard on electronics I am the type who loses things more often than she finds them.

I had pooped on the Pod, and its price point. I questioned its usefulness, thinking its more fad and fashion than practical. It was priced too high and doesn't really do enough. And I thought that if I ever did buy one, it would work for about a year before it spontaneously combusted and disintegrated into dust. I was not impressed with it, to say the least, and thought its life-span would be about the same as the Apple Cube, or possibly leg warmers. I was slightly interested in a flash player though, because although I wouldn't listen to music, I could dig listening to audio books. I didn't need something gargantuan, I needed something small, durable and cheap.

But, everybody I knew who was any sort of authority on Apple, said they would never do a cheap flash player-type thing. And I was sad. Cry for me. Even as I sat and watched the iPod phenomenon grow into this giant industry, I resisted. No urges, no dreams, nothing compelling me to be a Pod owner. I laughed at the Pod people and went on my unshackled way. So what. So this thing is big. So what. You are all crazy. Meh.

Until the shuffle.

The shuffle was made for me. It's scary how its design and functionality fits perfectly into my life. It's cheap, I'm cheap; we were made for each other. 512MB for 99 bucks or a gig for $149. Audible should give these out as incentives instead of those crappy Otis players it currently hocks. I have two of those Otis MP3 players: two never-functional players that I can't even ebay. With the shuffle, I fill it with the 40 or so songs I listen to, plus maybe a book and I toddle off. The 12-hour battery charge will outlive the longest stretch of time I can stand to have earbuds shoved in my head. It's small, sleek design fits in my pocket, which incidentally is the only place I can truly keep anything for a goodly amount of time--until it hits the wash, of course--I guess nothing is perfect. The only way this thing could be perfect is if it screamed bloody murder when it got tossed in the dirty laundry by accident. Although I ain't gonna get one of those stupid lanyards. I have enough in my life that makes me look retarded. At this point, I found no reason not to buy it. Except for having no money.

But I did. I did get the money. And now I'm waiting in the Battan Death March of the Backordered souls who bought this thing at

I don't even want the thing anymore. But I desperately want it to finally come so that I may call this quest over and done with.

Well. I could beat myself in the head with a mallet until unconscious. But that would be too easy. Too easy a way out of the Pod.



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