Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Bring the Music

Part I of today's 3-part series on why this was the best birthday ever.

Brother musics. I read.

Not that I don't listen to music and not that Brother doesn't read, but Brother has a music problem and I clearly have a book problem.

For my 31st birthday, he got me a CD player. I got one for myself for my 20th birthday and it had ceased to work long before.

As dopey% as it may be to get sentimental about a piece of stereo equipment, that 31st birthday CD player brought music back to my life. I probably hadn't listened to six hours of radio and no CDs in three years when he gave me that.

[SUMMARY: *sniff*]

Now, for my 41st, Brother has brought the music again.

He gave me a one-year subscription to emusic. Now, I have an iPod. I've been musically capable all on my own for years now, but this will bring something back I haven't had for a good, long while: exploration.

I've done most of my musical exploration through my brother for the last three or four years.§ He makes me a CD every Christmas and I go buy various CDs or MP3s from the artists on it and I feel very hip and underground.

Sometimes a little dangerous.^

[SUMMARY: I am dork once removed.]

emusic doesn't trade much in the mainstream.#

I'm going to have to listen to a lot of weird stuff. I love listening to weird stuff so long as I have some means of organising the weird stuff. Just going to Cheapo Discs and randomly pulling potential weirdness out of the bins... well, actually, that might be fun once or twice,†† but guided weirdness suits my inner planning Nazi so much better.

So I get 30 tracks a month, with all the joy of musical discovery married to the complete time-suck of Music Maker.‡‡

[SUMMARY: Hey, wait...]

Brother is still trying to take over the world.

FOOTNOTE (crossed): And we will both admit to having video game problems so severe that neither of us will keep games on our computers. Brother once, in an attempt to subvert my powers and take over the world, got me Music Maker for Christmas. This is a musical video game, more or less, that allows one to remix songs, compose songs, distort notes, add syncopation, change keys... in short, I spent 17 straight hours remixing one bar of "First and Last and Always" and had to remove the software from my computer. Later, Brother admitted he really wanted Music Maker for himself but he knew he would be homeless and unhygienic within a month if he had it.

FOOTNOTE (double-crossed): Trust me, this was a hundred years ago. I don't think anybody else at my whole college had a CD player in 1987. Not only am I influential, apparently I'm a trendspotter. I am also pleased and more than a little smug to report that my college boyfriend didn't think CDs were going to last and refused to invest in the player or the media until he was confident they'd be around to stay. I believe he was still running vinyl and cassette tapes in 1992.

%FOOTNOTE (percented): Is there an "e" in dopy? Dopey? Dopie?

§FOOTNOTE (swerved): To be honest, my finding The Duhks and Margot and the Nuclear So and Sos was indirectly through Brother, as he was directly responsible for my XM Radio. Just so's you know... I keep a tiny notebook, about the size of a business card, in my car so I can write down bands and songs off obscure XM channels. I am that dork.

FOOTNOTE (paragraphed): With some odd stuff he thinks I need and often some utterly esoteric circa-1983 thing that's been off my radar for years.

^FOOTNOTE (careted): Y'know... hip hop...

#FOOTNOTE (pounded): I tried Rush. No Rush. I tried Sisters of Mercy... *that's* too mainstream for emusic. They do, however, trade in Duhks and Margot, so I know there's something out there for me.

††FOOTNOTE (ddouble-ccrossed): I did that at Bleecker Bob's in the Village on one of my NYC trips. Cool, but kinda like trying to kill pigeons with a scatter gun. You miss more than you hit.

‡‡FOOTNOTE (doubble-crossssed): *ahem* I probably shouldn't admit this, but the first time I played computer solitaire (1992, for the trendspotter record), I discovered it (while watching the evening news - I mention that so you can get a bead on the time frame) buried in the directory of a DOS-based computer my uncle had given me to take to Antarctica. I messed around with it, gradually figuring out all the key commands (no mouse) and looked up and it was 4:00 in the morning.

No, I've never played Prisoner of Zenda. Now you see why.

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