Shoes off, laptop out and hand over the iPod

Not sure what to make of this one: iPirates risk jail time in customs frisk. By implementing moves only accurately described as “draconian,” are our governments conspiring against how we consume music? Well, I mean they have been conspiring for a while…the UK gov has already implemented ISP charges for major downloaders, and Canadians flipped out when the fines for copyright infringement kicked in. But enforcing it at the airport? That’s likening the process to, well, smuggling. Which I guess it is, in a sense, since they call it “pirated music.” As a traveler, this just seems like an enormous pain in the ass. As if making us take off our shoes and “randomly” swabbing our laptops for traces of explosives wasn’t bad enough…

iPod Rediscovery

On one of my drives I put the iPod on shuffle, mostly out of an impatience to decide what to listen to. Usually I prefer to listen to whole albums top to bottom – you know, the way they were created – but while driving, scrolling through hundreds of bands with a click wheel is not very practical or safe for anyone involved. So shuffle it was, and I was surprisingly struck by “Snowsuit Sound” by Sloan. BTW if you have never heard of Sloan then you evidently: 1) are not Canadian, and; 2) do not know anyone from Canada. I used to be a major Sloan fan, back in the 90’s when I co-hosted an all CanCon indie rock show on CKUT (I was so green that I asked Matt Murphy how it felt to be Chris Murphy’s brother during a live-to-air interview…later my friend Amanda B. told me: “Um, everyone in Halifax has the last name Murphy,”…I was so embarassed…actually I’m still embarassed). So my iPod Rediscovery is that I am still a major Sloan fan (narrowed to the Twice Removed and One Chord To Another era…you know, Canada’s first insular indie rock heyday).

One time, we got an email from a girl who said she had “rediscovered” The Dears while listening to her iPod on shuffle. We were among the tens of thousands of songs stored among 60 gigs or however much space, and somehow, we had made it, literally, through the shuffle. And so she fell in love.

Is the iPod shuffle completely random? I have heard that it is not, that the iPod uses some kind of algorithm to calculate the songs it will play, using such stats as which songs you have previously listened to, which songs you skipped, etc. Personally, I loathe this idea of an untrue random. While listening to my recently loaded iPod on shuffle, I had to skip The Beatles about a dozen times. Yes, they made a lot of records and for some reason I have everything they’ve recorded on there, but that doesn’t mean I want to listen to them all the time. Why should quantity override quality, or variety? What ding dong programmed that feature into the algorithm? Seriously. I would like to know.

I’m positive it’s been hotly debated, and a simple Googling would probably reveal the answers. But that would be too easy.

Anyhow, Sloan dudes, we’re all grown up and have kids and shit, and even though Murray tackled Chris Murphy into a pile of garbage in Kingston, ON when we were on tour together, we still love you.

Long, Long, Long

I was inspired to get my iPod up and running because I had this song suddenly stuck in my head, and the only way I know to remove a song is to listen to the original. The song was “Long, Long, Long” off the Beatles’ White Album.

This is my second iPod. My first one Murray bought for me years ago, and it eventually got stolen out of our car. So I’ve been iPod-less for about a year, which is OK because I don’t really listen to music anyhow. Since, however, I’ve been driving more, especially out to the South Shore to visit family, I’ve felt the urge in those commuter-like moments to listen to music. Except for certain shows on the CBC, the radio is entirely frustrating. I try CKUT, CISM, but usually can’t be held for more than one song.

I’ve had a new iPod sitting in its box for something like five months: each person in the band got one as a consolation prize for being a Polairs nominee. So why did I wait so long? This new, fancy iPod comes with new, fancy firmware that didn’t work with my ancient OS X. I had to breathe new life into my iBook G4 anyhow so I wiped it, upgraded the RAM and installed Tiger. Now it works like a charm but I don’t have iPhoto anymore which is annoying. How do I get that back without having to dish out for that useless suite of iLife programs?

At least the iPod works now. I have 160GB which I’m filling up with music I had backed up music from my previous iPod, and also with my photos. For variation, I’ve decided to turn to the Podcast, and now subscribe to episodes of CBC Radio 3 and DrownedInSound. Mainly I want to hear new music, get a sense of the musical climate out there.

Now I want to go on a road trip or something, just to have an excuse to explore the new things captured on my iPod…

…and I still haven’t listened to that Beatles’ song yet.