...nothing here is promised, not one day... Lin-Manuel Miranda

Mine's bigger - the alternative
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Most of my life, the measures of "what's important" among my peer group have been alternatives to the usual. Because I have hung out among intellectuals, lefties and readers, science fiction fans and political activists and people with disabilities, the usual measurements of success - money, big houses, lots of thingies, you know - don't apply.

But we still do measure, even if we try not to. Some of it is simply for the sake of amusement when we realize just HOW many vacations we've taken which were actually Worldcon-oriented. Or sometimes it's even a way of reassuring someone that no, that's not that odd, or no, that’s not that weird or simply "nah, don't worry, we can handle that". That last one comes up a lot when a bunch of fans help another fan move; we're doing that less nowadays, as we all discover that dammit, we're not exempt from arthritis and backaches and the annoying realities of aging, but we still do pitch in, sometimes just to help someone put stuff into, take out of storage. But among the s.f. fan community the measure seems to be How Many Boxes of Books you have. It's the thing that always gets the moving company guys to comment; it's where we collect the "stupid questions that we have snappy answers for" like "have you read all these?" It's how fans seem to count coup. There are apocryphal stories, there are real stories, there are always "when X moved, HE HAD….." or "when Y moved, they had to bring in a bigger van because they didn't BELIEVE her when she told them how many books she had…"

There were fewer counter-culture measurements in the political community, but number of civil disobedience arrests could start a lively discussion in the right crowd at the right party.

So recently, I've found a new one. It's how many songs you've downloaded to your iPod. It IS, like the number of books, an odd way, but a real one of saying something about someone; some people might, for example, not have a lot because they never really converted from vinyl, or whatever, but Stu and I, although we still hold onto all our vinyl record albums, gave in and bought CDs, even as we muttered about how dang it, the minute we get most of what we want they'll come up with a newer technology. We still have a turntable, used rarely, and a tape deck, used even less oft. But CDs we gots.

And the lure of the iPod which would, I am sure, hold every cut on every CD we own without even coming close to filling up, is truly remarkable. I'm copying CDs onto the laptop that I haven't listened t in AGES, sometimes wondering I bought THIS? WHEN did I buy THIS?? I have a gift certificate at iTunes that I haven't even thought about using yet although eventually I'll want SOME cut that I don't own and that I can't get from the library; currently, most of the things I have on hold from Seattle public are CDs because the idea that for the first time in ages I could listen to some old Ronstadt tune that I only had on vinyl, but can now put on the little guy, well, cool. And I want to swagger; I want to have LOTS of songs on my iPod. I wanna be like the big guys. I wanna be a contenduh.

And I'm also wondering if there could be a competitive edge to your iPod playlist in other ways; I mean mine is really sort of er "eclectic" which, in this definition means primarily that "very few people would recognize most of the performers" on it. When I was out today, I did the "shuffle" thing and even I didn't recognize all the stuff I was hearing. But I'm not done yet. But it's a mishmash of folk, country, semi-obscure singer-songwriters and the occasional "sure most people would know her" name, I think. And I'm enjoying the hecky out of it.

Still haven't found the perfect accessory; bought a holder that will fit on my handlebars but which doesn't give me access to the controls; still it was cheap and velcroed on and I can set it on "shuffle" and leave it be for a trip. Also got a cheap cover just so I don't have to be pure WHITE; I'm still trying to talk myself out of buying the hoodie for it. The hook-on holder still needs to be found; while yes, I have a cup holder, it's not going to work for the iPod as it's a fold down one that fits on the arm of the scooter - NOT to be used in transit, or it'll snap off as you go through a door (as one of Barry's customers complained happened 3 times in two weeks. She hasn't quite caught on about door widths and scoters apparently.) Next stop - a bike shop, which might have a holder of some sort to hook over the basket securely, which is what I want. I still find it astounding to think how many hundreds and hundreds of people are employed in the iPod accessory business. The reverse of that of course being how stunned I am that Apple created this amazingly brilliant little device and couldn't be bothered coming up with a workable, small portable carrier to package with it; apparently assuming we're all living in a tv ad bopping down the street without anything in our hands but our little iPods. And no one in this land ever drops anything.

The best thing that happened at the pod store though was the useful advice about charging the thing I got from the sales dude who confirmed "charge it. Charge it whenever you can. Don't worry about letting the battery drain so it 'remembers'. These aren't those kid of batteries. Keep it charged, you'll extend the life of the thing by YEARS."

Oh, yeah, before we switched the USB cable (or something) to this desktop so we could use it for a few days (I have to use the laptop to work the iPod as it needs OS 10), the magic number was 888.

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