That's where I'm living at the moment. Obsessed with copying CDs to iTunes and loading up the iPod. The laptop's getting dangerously full of digital music--it's a three-year-old IBM with something like a 12GB hard disk. Well, I was planning to get a new laptop anyway, because I'm changing jobs--um, I hope I'm changing jobs because my current job is over in about five weeks--and I'll have to hand the trusty IBM over to my successor. But now I'm really anxious to get a new one with a much larger disk so I can keep loading the iPod. I'm shuffling CDs in and out like a freezing man feeding a coal fire.
The impact is comparable to getting my first cell phone in the fall of '99. I got the phones for Amy and myself because I was spending a lot of time in the car, commuting to grad school, and I wanted to make that time more productive. We had actually been holding out for a while--Amy didn't really want work to be able to track her down, and as a student I just didn't feel right spending the money when I didn't have a job. But eventually prices dropped to the point where I felt like the expense was justified, and I picked them up as a surprise for Amy, even though I didn't think we'd use them all that much.
Couldn't be wronger. More wrong? At any rate, the sudden ability to be in touch with each other and the rest of the world at all times, no matter where we were (living 99% of our lives in the cell-tower infested Bay Area) had a tremendous effect. Now that we take that connectivity for granted, it's hard to remember--and perhaps important to remember--how strange it was at first, and how much it changed the way daily life was lived. Where previously you needed to plan so many things in advance, now everything was fluid--you could just make things up on the fly.
That's how I feel about the iPod. I don't need to think about what music I want to listen to in order to have it with me--I essentially just think "What would I like to hear right now, at this moment?" It's much more fluid, more subject to change. This is just an approximation, really, since I'm still in the process of picking out discs--I'm up to the "U's" and so far I've stuck to rock, punk and pop--no jazz, blues or roots. This is because 1) I expect to use the iPod a lot while exercising, and I'll be rocking out, 2) Amy's not listening to much rock anymore, and as a result I listen to less sitting around at home--so I'll be using the iPod to get my fix, and 3) I have a lingering loyalty to some old "records" and I feel the need to carry them around with me--say, Squirrel Bait's "Skag Heaven", even though I probably won't listen to them that much.
I opted for the 20GB model, knowing full well that I'd fill it up pretty quickly, both because I really wanted the lighter, smaller version--these things are pretty dense, and feel surprisingly heavy--and because it was $100 cheaper. So I'm not going to be able to afford having much unlistened-to music on the thing. Given that we mainly listen to jazz and vocals from the 40's-60's (lately more obscure stuff like Helen Merrill, Charlie Byrd, and Chris Connor, but all the standards too, of course) and contemporary roots-y stuff like Jolie Holland and Ollabelle, it'll be interesting to see how much of that makes it onto my iPod.
It'll be interesting to see if the iPod stays a rock refuge or if it increasingly mirrors my at-home listening. I'm guessing it'll be the latter--there's some stuff I just loaded that I already know I won't really be listening to. Yes, I'm talking to you Sebadoh. And "London Calling" will always be on there, but who knows how long "Give 'Em Enough Rope" will stick around?