You are your workout music
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1:27 - : AAAAAAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
So I’ve been putting off getting my music onto my new phone because I know that anything that involves new devices and syncing and music files and curation (10 GB free? I take that as a challenge) is an all afternoon project for me, and here in the waning of this four day weekend I decided that afternoon had arrived. It actually didn’t take as long as I thought; I just have fear/paranoia of iOS interfaces and I feel like they’re always doing a lot of things I don’t want them to do without asking me, so I’m slow and deliberate about such things. For instance, if I want to preview an mp3 I will open it in Quicktime first, so that it doesn’t import automatically to iTunes and thus create a duplicate file in the iTunes folder, etc, this is fascinating, I know.
The more consuming process was when I decided to take out my old hard drive and see if there was anything on there that I should have at my disposal on my phone. This is a hard drive full of college essays and mp3s rescued off of three different computers over the course of more than a decade, which have been waiting for about 3.5 years for me to get a computer of my own so they can have a home again. That will happen someday. In the meantime I find myself firing it up a couple times a year to dig around and go looking for this or that old piece of writing or photo, which inevitably leads me to this:
This is is what our dust and clutter looks like now. A bunch of weird little Unix files forming a thick layer on top of a folder. I think this happens when you use a drive on both a PC and Mac, but thats not a particularly weird thing to do, so this is just a computer thing we’ve come to accept and live with.
Anyway, I was going in to browse through my music. Now here’s the thing about my big fat MP3 folder: When I first started collecting MP3s, I didn’t like having subfolders for some reason. I wanted everything to be in one folder, named and accurately metadata’d so that they’d fall into place when I sorted them by artist (which was a think you could do on whatever PCs at some point I think.) These are the pitfalls of organizing based on an operating system. Operating systems become obsolete and the new ones do not understand what to do with your fucked up filing system. More importantly, due to the passage of time, neither do you.
I think when the shift to digital files happened a lot of us were kind of secretly sweating the impermanence of media even though we knew we’d probably be able to play our mp3s for the fifty or so years before everyone switched to jelly orbs or whatever the next thing after computers will be. But already, in just 10 years, my mp3 collection is inscrutable for me. I feel like I have to fish things out I want specifically, shake off all the digital dust and rearrange before I can actually access and play any of this stuff.
I made a little liferaft of essential tracks and albums and quarantined them in a folder on my desktop.
I mean, I say that they are essential and I felt the need to have them on my super-selective 10 GB of phone space, and I was like “whoa what a find can’t wait to play these”, but haha, I have Spotify and like, mf-ing YouTube and I could play most of this stuff whenever I want. But these are my files, I told myself. I harvested them myself off of CDs I bought or Napster accounts I had to delete. I have a history with these files, even if I have no idea what those Extreme Animals files are.
Here’s the thing though, there is a difference! I drove out to the Beverly Center to return some stuff and decided to listen to Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain for the first time in a few years, all the way through. And it was exciting! I didn’t skip through any of it, which I definitely would have done at least once if I was just listening to some communal file of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain on Spotify. I was listening to the same mp3 of “Unfair” that I blasted in my boyfriend’s car on the first week I lived in LA! It was a completely imagined significance I was giving this collection of 1s and 0s; there were no scratches or worn parts to call my own, but it was my file, dammit.
This started to seem very sad to me, like I was desperately clinging on to any semblance of physical music nostalgia I could via a few megabytes of noise that had been languishing on a dusty Toshiba hard drived, with no image or form to live on or distinguish itself by. But I guess the nostalgia started with the urge to organize my mp3s in the first place, like they were a stack of CDs I could gaze at lovingly when they were all in their right place. I wanted those old files on my new phone as some kind of badge of honor or amulet to ward off some kind of creeping self-amnesia, even though I knew it was silly and a hassle. Taking care of things we own is a way we take care of ourselves, but in the digital download era you are the custodian of nothing and the consumer of everything. Taking care of the things you own is a pretty retro thing to do I guess.
The Katniss is the least concerned with romantic love, unsurprisingly. Ideally she has an admirer or two she can repeatedly spurn, but self-sufficiency is very important to the Katniss. In what seems like intentional opposition to the often helpless Bella, the Katniss feels the need to be able to fend for herself — to build a fire, to mend her own wounds, metaphorically speaking. At the same time, she is not a lone wolf; she likely has a strong connection to her family and is very in tune with her culture and how it may be manipulating and/or disenfranchising her. The Katniss has no use for reality TV, but knows it’s important to understand how it works. She is a self-proclaimed “foodie,” and definitely not vegetarian. Even though she pretends not to care about fashion, she has a well-honed sense of style. Her Pinterest life is more active than she’d probably admit. The Katniss either is or aspires to be athletic, but she doesn’t usually watch sports, except for maybe the Olympics. She reads news stories about gay rights protests in Sochi and part of her wishes she could be there.
Been listening to this almost daily for about 2 months now. Shrug.
Thanks to Emily Yoshida for being so great on the podcast this week! Today: we talk about how we talk when we talk about racism.
As always, you can subscribe on iTunes, and call in, 323-389-RACE to leave your questions!
No thank YOU. ^___^