Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Driving Two Cars on the Information Superhighway

This is a time of extreme manliness. With a sleek, silver, 500 GB hard drive designed by Porsche standing up next to a cool, black, slightly taller and slimmer 300 GB model, the latter with flashing spot-blue bulbs and a red, racing heart, I am at peak technological force. I am optimally wired and connected. I am exchanging information between two incomprehensibly vast apparatuses, using my badass, ultra-slim, white laptop as the interface along which the information traverses. A cold beer is the Macy's cosmetics stand compared to my current endeavor.

What I am doing, in reality, is re-backing-up my iTunes. Most people, especially writers, are gravely concerned with backing up their documents—which I am doing, as an ancillary exercise—but I’m hardly phased by the prospect of losing my essays and rants. If something happened to my iTunes, though, the balls of anyone within scalding distance would never be the same. Long ago, owing to space considerations, I moved my music library to the 300 GB model, and then acquired the 500 GB model for an extra layer of security. Once a month, I copy everything from the 300 to the 500, and all the whirring noises, flashing lights, and cool icons make my cajones feel abnormally large.

39.21 gigabytes of music just passed hands. That’s 23 days, 3 hours, 6 minutes, and 41 seconds of playback. 7,083 songs. The time, money, and energy those songs represent are innumerable. Some people call themselves “well read;” I claim to be “well listened.” Either that or “capable of listening well.” That’s the secondary implication, I believe, of “well read”—that not only has one sampled a wide selection of books, but one has acquired and honed the ability to read in an insightful, critical way. Simile. Metaphor. Allegory. Synecdoche. Parallels and contrasts. The things that high schoolers claim only exist in the essays and minds of their teachers.

Those same traits are reasonable to expect in someone who’s listened to a large quantity of music. Even if one is not a musician, one begins to pick up on quasi-musician concepts: song structure, dynamics, melody, and basic rhythm. One stops hearing the songs and starts listening to them. Like my music 101 professor told us on my first day of college, “All of you listen to music with your heart. I want you to listen with your mind, also.” Knowledge of any medium breeds a deeper appreciation; this is not just true of the arts. From computer geeks to architects, bobsledders to restaurant owners, cause and effect become cyclical: you like something, so you start learning more about it. The more you learn about it, the more you like it.

And the more I learn about external hard drives, the more I like them. Looking at both of mine now, I lustily await next month’s turn to back up my backup. The silver one lies dormant, its metallic husk cool to the touch. Its tall black companion, the original standby, breathes and hums, throwing heat from every crevice. They make for a formidable pair. My music is safe.

I feel like a man.

Stay Secure, iTunes Collection
DJ Disc Space

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