1. Back in March, I sat on my old iPod and broke it.
2. I also needed a new cell phone.
3. I spent way too much time trying to figure out if a smartphone was a good idea for me (I need calendar access for arranging tutoring jobs, so as to avoid embarrassing scheduling mistakes), then decided it was stupidly expensive.
4. E and I decided the best move would be to buy an iPod Touch, which does everything I need it to do.
5. I had to upgrade the operating system on my seven-year-old computer to make the iPod work.
6. Somewhere in there, my external hard drive, on which was stored my 90GB of music I'd been collecting, decided it was tired of working and would just stop.
This week has been really frustrating for me--I've spent way too many hours trying to first fix the hard drive, then reformat the hard drive, then reload my collection onto it. Now it's Friday and I've got an iPod with no songs on it and no way to get the songs I have--on CD--onto it. So much for convenience.
But I found myself thinking about that Llewellyn Hinkes essay over and over this week, especially his thoughts about how the digital versions of the stuff we have are so fragile and, ultimately, meaningless:
Having something like this stored digitally, where a single hard drive failure can destroy years of hoarding in an instant, is frightening. It’s as if mother-destroyer can enter your house at any moment, chop off the super-ego, and then throw it in the garbage. For a time, I hoarded gobs and gobs of mp3s of obscure psychedelic music: Japanese-Brazilian lounge albums, avant-garde noise compositions, anything by Gary Wilson. Then one day, I saw it all disappear.I've been a music packrat for as long as I can remember, pretty much. If I liked an album by a band, I was always the guy who wanted to a)know and b) hear everything else by that band. It got to the point where the 25-year-old me would hang on to a crappy late-period Nine Inch Nails CD because their first album was a favorite of mine when I was 16. Enough already, though. I am ready to edit the last parts of that stuff out. Because you know what? In this digital age, if I ever really need to hear a song again, there are ways to make it happen. It's time to be a grownup (and not a minor character from High Fidelity) and only hold on to the CDs and songs I know I want to hear on a fairly regular basis. The old favorites, the gold standards, and the new treasures, dig? I'm thinking now about how I'm going to get the music I really, genuinely want to listen to a lot onto the internal hard drive of my computer (digital files are where it's at for convenience, especially now that my car's stereo has become destructive and E's folks got me one of those iPod FM transmitter contraptions for my birthday).
To do that, though, I need to clear off some space. The hard drive is full of a bunch of old things I don't need or use anymore--archiving software, multiple copies of grad school assignments, raw recordings of band practices--that will give me absolutely no regrets when I get rid of them. I also have a lot of photos on there, though--I was using the external drive to back them up, but now that that's gone, I need a more reliable system for the time being. We'll be getting a new computer when we move, so that's fine, but I think for now I want to edit the photos that are worth saving (I tend to take a few of each shot, with the intention of only keeping the best, but that self-editing doesn't happen as often as it should), burn the good ones onto CDs, upload them to Shutterfly, and see if I can take advantage of one of their deals on lots of prints.
I know a lot of the readers of this blog are really into decorating and physical stuff--am I missing anything in my thinking that would keep me from doing something really dumb? I want to get this process going ASAP, but I also want to do it right.