Thursday, February 28, 2008

Music makes the people come together

My iPod was totally feeling me this morning. After listening to a podcast or two, I shifted over to shuffling songs, and this is what it produced:

S.O.S – The Breeders
Paranoid Android - Radiohead
Rudi, a Message to You – The Specials
Steady as She Goes – The Raconteurs
Violently Happy - Bjork
Phantom Bride - Erasure
Shame on You – The Indigo Girls
Nth Degree - Morningwood

Not a skipper in the bunch, and som that I hadn't heard in a while. I even let the last song play out as I sat in the parking lot of my office building, savoring the last few moments of “me” time before heading inside for the bulk of the day.

I have been using the shuffle option more recently, partially in response to a recent loss of all of my playlists and rankings. We switched over to being a Mac household (hello, mini!) and I had to convert the iPod over to a Mac-format. The net result of this was losing all the work I’d put in to organizing my music.

As a side note, while the loss of playlists/rankings was initially maddening, I’ve come to look at is as a way to listen to my music collection with a new ear. Re-rank, etc. I’ve even gotten P into the game, sharing with her my selective approach to assigning the number of stars (between 1 and 5, with 1 meaning they are removed at next sync, 2 meaning they can stay on the iPod, 3 meaning I like them, 4 meaning I like them more and wouldn’t mind if they were on the “I don’t know what to play but people are coming over” playlist, and 5 meaning they are truly, truly great. I rarely grant a 5).

I don’t know how others approach or arrange their music, but I am particular in this regard. When I relied on my CD collection, it was organized alphabetically by artist, minus soundtracks/collections which were placed in a separate section (generally the lower right hand corner of the rack). If a new CD was acquired, everything was shifted to accommodate. If a CD was selected to play, its jewel case would be placed, cocked open and standing, on top of the player so I know what’s in there. Everything was always put away.

It was the same when I relied on cassettes, although that was harder given mixes and the less-than-optimal storage options. This was usually a series of 60 cassette “briefcases,” each laden with stickers from all the bands/activities I thought were cool. I still have one of these cases out of nostalgia, and a couple of cassettes (the soundtracks to Pretty in Pink and Footloose) live on our desk in the home office as happy little memories. Has my youth has become kitsch?

What can I say? Everyone has their “thing,” and mine is that I am particular about how music is treated. It treats me well, and I return the favor.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Back to the middle and around again

Things I've learned about having a long commute: it isn't very good for finding the time to blog.

It also isn't very good for the environment, but I knew that part already.

After four and a half months of a new job, I'm leaving. This has been a whole new experience for me, and I think it's been a good one. In short, I like the people I work with, but the job itself isn't a good fit. So when the opportunity arose to return to my former employer in a new capacity, I went for it.

Two weeks left at the current post. They are going to both fly and drag on at the same time...

Honestly, I really should avoid talking about "what I do" with anyone. I think it's just confusing to try and follow me; even I'm bored by it at times. I've become rather adept at avoiding the question, responding with witty retorts or diversions. For now, I'll continue with that approach, at least until it feels more settled. And as far as the resume is concerned, this job will have never existed.

Instead, I'm focusing on things like my commitment to head up a team for Reach the Beach this year. I've wanted to do this race for years, and finally committed myself to doing it. It isn't until September, but having that goal really helps me to shift from my normal run-for-sanity routine to something that feels more like training. I.e., pushing myself to be a little faster, go a little farther, dig a little deeper.

I know most of the people on my team, and am very excited. Great group of people, all in it for fun (with a dash of competitive spirit). I tried to cherry pick friends who have the capacity to make the best of any given situation, knowing that we'll all be smelly and tired at some point during the race. And when those situations arise, you can either become cranky, or laugh it off.

I do not want cranky. I do not respond well to cranky. Not this Cranky, because I do like him... the other, more generic kind.

As team captain, I see myself as a bit of a cheerleader, and can't bring myself to say things like, "No whining allowed!" At least, not directly. I'll say it - and have said it - in other ways. I also need to keep thinking of nice ways to encourage the slower runner to pick it up a bit. I doubt we'll run out of time given the full makeup of the team (that would totally suck), but there's always that little part of my brain that can't help but worry.

So, once again, I am in transition. New job, new commute, new training plan. All of this is good news to me!