Thursday, October 23, 2008

Revenge of the iPod

So, it's morning again but it's a Thursday. I like Thursdays. They're almost as good as Fridays. Mostly because a Thursday evening means I get to watch "Grey's Anatomy" and "The Office". The problem with Thursdays, though, is that I usually stay up way too late because I tell myself, "It's ok, you've only got one more day before you can sleep in." Which, inevitably, results in me being exhausted on Friday night and just wanting to hibernate for the evening. Yet I do it almost every week. It's a vicious cycle.

I was going to make this a more writer-y blog today. Then I put my iPod on and I realized that I didn't want to be deep. Instead, I think my iPod deserves its own blog.

My iPod is an iPod mini. In the world of new technology, my iPod is a senior citizen. I bought it off my sister back about four, maybe five, years ago. She wanted to upgrade to a full sized iPod and I just wanted to listen to music so it worked out nicely. Well, for a couple of months anyway. My first iPod mini would freeze as it booted up. I couldn't play music. I still had a warranty so I sent it to Apple who sent me a new iPod mini in its place.

Until recently, my iPod was one of the possessions I had that I couldn't do without. i wore it at work to cut out the background chatter and focus. I wore it when I went places to write. I wore it when I walked. You get the picture. It was like a pet...except it made less mess and only required its battery to be charged when it was running low on energy.

Lately, however, my iPod has been showing signs of dementia. I think its age is showing. I think in iPod years that my iPod is about 100 years old. Probably older. (One year of human life = 25 iPod years. Yes, that's a very scientific number that I just made up, thank you very much).

It's stopped letting me take control of its playlist. Instead, it controls me. We used to be in sync; if I was having a bad day and I'd put iPod on "shuffle', it always managed to find the angriest songs on my iPod, heavy on the Linkin Park, Marilyn Manson and REM ("Bad Day" is an excellent song for when you're having....a bad day). When i was feeling hyper and energetic, my iPod would shuffle into the punk stuff on my iPod, the Ramones, Stiff Little Fingers and, of course, Green Day. When I was melancholy, it was heavy on the Beethoven, Linkin Park again, Coldplay...whatever suited my mood. You get the point. My iPod got me, it understood me.

And, well, these days...I have no say. For a start, my touch wheel doesn't work. I can get it to work but I have to "mash" it. Mashing it means I put the iPod on 'hold' (you iPod owners know what I mean by that) and then just mash the scroll wheel for a moment or two. I push it a lot. Most of the time, I get control of the scroll wheel after this. Well, at least for a few minutes, anyway. So, I usually manage to get enough control to hit 'shuffle' so at least I have some music playing; it just means I'm at the mercy of my iPod.

I knew it was over yesterday though. I mashed the wheel because my iPod had decided to play all of the embarrassing songs in its files. And by "embarrassing" songs, I mean the stuff that you don't tell people you actually have on there, the stuff you hide until someone grabs your iPod and starts being nosy. Yes, I have some Kelly Clarkson on my iPod, ok? Yes, I know she was an American Idol but...she's catchy. And, uh, yes, I did have a moment of dementia of my own and I downloaded some of last years American Idol songs on iTunes. So Jason on my iPod.It was a moment of weakness. But I stopped before I downloaded Chikeze, I promise! But that's most of my 'embarrassing stuff' except, maybe, Bon Jovi's "New Jersey" album which I downloaded because I was in the mood. But that's not's retro...right?

Anyway, I'm digressing. Again. Or I'm confessing. One or the other. I got excited when iPod decided to play "Calling You," by Blue October. I like that song. My iPod usually doesn't shuffle to it and though I've put it on a playlist so I can hear it when I want, I no longer have enough control of my scroll wheel to try using a playlist. My 'mashing' only lasts long enough for me to select one option. If I try mashing again to continue to my playlist, iPod stops responding. So...when it shuffles to a song I really want to hear, I get excited. When "Calling You" stopped playing, it shuffled to "Starlight" by Muse. I like Muse a lot but I'm a bit burned out on them so I hit the 'back' key to replay "Calling You."

Except iPod didn't go back when I hit the 'back' key. It went forward. I thought that, maybe, I'd hit 'forward' by accident. I hit it again. It went backwards. Again. So, I hit the 'forward' key and, naturally, it started going backwards. So, I sighed and realized iPod was just being tempermental, decided to go along with it and attempted to get back to Blue October. Except then BOTH keys decided to start going backwards, WAY past Blue October and all the way back to the Kelly Clarkson stack of songs it had played earlier. I couldn't get my iPod to skip the songs. Clearly, it really wanted to hear Kelly Clarkson. I was its active audience.

I'm trying not to believe it's punishing me for the fact that I tend to be a little obsessive. If I like a song, I repeat it, over and over. Recently, it's been Coldplay's "Viva la Vida". iPod rarely shuffles to that song anymore. I also do have the entire Green Day catalogue on it, including a Japanese import. It doesn't like Green Day much and when it does shuffle, it's always to the Green Day songs I like least. I know I've abused it a little, forcing it to play the same playlist of five songs for five hours straight. I've apologised but, alas, it no longer seems to hear me.

I tried again this morning, realizing the the scroll wheel was not working at all. With the aid of a paperclip, I have managed to get some functionality back. So far, I can move forward and backwards. I still can't adjust the volume but I rarely get to do that anymore and since I managed to get it at a nice soft yet audible level, I will NOT complain. I am afraid to complain; sometimes, I actually have to plug it into its power cord just to get it to boot up, even when it's still got a full battery. I'd hate to think what it would do if I complained about something so minor as my not having control over the volume.

iPod seems to be in an Oldies mood today. So far, it's shuffled to the Beatles at least five times as well as my "Across the Universe" soundtrack, also Beatles songs but with the actors from the movie singing. I'm not complaining about that- I love that soundtrack. It's also playing a lot from "Juno". I guess it's feeling very free and quirky today.

The thing is, I'm not feeling so quirky today. Maybe I will later. It's too early to tell.

Then again, my iPod just started playing Kelly Clarkson's "Because of You." Maybe it's time to get a new iPod.

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