Sunday, September 16, 2007

Robert Plant 'Fate Of Nations'

I finally got into the 21st Century this past week by getting my hands on an MP3 player. Yes… A bold step for someone who is still very happy with outdated vinyl albums and cassette tapes. It’s not that I’m afraid of change… It’s just that MP3’s are impersonal and faceless. I like having a hard copy of something with liner notes and artwork. I like reading almost every word on the credits. I like slipping on the reading glasses and settling into my “old fart” ways when it comes to digesting a new piece of recorded music.

I still have all my albums and the cassette tapes that I recorded those albums on. You see… I started with albums because of the sound quality. I would only purchase a prerecorded cassette tape if the LP was no longer available. I recorded my albums onto cassette tape for portability. If something happened to the tape… I always had a backup. Nothing lost but a buck and a half if the tape got lost or stolen.

When CD’s came along… That eased the burden somewhat. It had the portability and the sound quality was awesome.

And in my opinion, I think the artwork of albums since the CD’s introduction has suffered. The covers are now more or less snapshots instead of thought out productions. You just don’t see album covers like this anymore…

I have resisted the current onslaught of MP3 players although they were constantly floating around in the back of my mind with the “gotta get one some day” label. I’d see people with them everywhere. And if I were to take a brisk walk around Battleground Park with my antique Sony Walkman cassette player… I’m sure I’d feel the stares. Those folks pointing out a fossil to their children. The hipsters moving their lips with words of ridicule amongst themselves… And the “thumbs up” from geriatrics who may feel that I’m a cool cat as I stroll around the park with a device that should be in a museum with a velvet rope protecting it from the public.

I certainly don’t need that… So on Thursday, I got a Zune MP3 player. And amazingly, everyone I told about my crossing over into a new century bulletin asked, “What’s a Zune?”

It seems that I wasn’t as out of touch as I thought I was… I actually knew about something that someone in their 20’s was unaware of. Someone that actually owns an MP3 player.

To be honest… I’ve been checking those things out in circulars and online since around Christmas. I’ve been attracted to the “Mack-daddy” types of players. Those that hold like a thousand albums worth of music storing away something like 10,000 songs.

The Zune also holds pictures and video… A feature that I couldn’t give a toenail clipping about.

Needless to say… I was excited about sitting down in front of my computer and downloading some tunes onto the Zune. When I got it home, I tore into it carefully. I searched for a manual of some type and there was only a disc to insert into the PC. It would have to download the program and all that BS.

So it did it’s thing for what seemed like two life spans of horse and finally it opened up. The PC was communicating with the Internet and my brand new Zune device. Then I started looking for some sort of directions… A manual. I found nothing.

When it comes to computers or gadgets tied to computers, I’m as helpless as a 20 point buck at a hunter’s convention. I get confused, I get anxious, I get angry, and it’s very possible that I’ll crash through plate glass just to getaway. It’s just not pretty.

Working with the Zune was no different. I had to blindly go into a seemingly busy highway of technology where any 15 year old these days can easily cruise at speeds of 200 mph. But I managed to figure out how to download some CD’s onto the program and synch it with Gretchen (the program wants you to name the damn thing). I also deleted some of the tunes that were preprogrammed onto it. I just couldn’t figure out how to get the video stuff off of it. That crap was taking up some valuable GB’s that I wanted for music.

I downloaded the past week’s worth of Robert Plant CD’s along with the latest from Maroon 5. By the third CD, I had a good handle on downloading and all that kind of jazz.

Once finished, I listened to a couple of tunes on my new Zune. The sound was just as incredible as the CD’s themselves. I was excited about having a good portion of my music collection packaged onto a small playing device. I turned it off and didn’t touch it again.

I had no plans for much of Saturday, so I thought I’d get to downloading all kinds of things onto my Zune… Gretchen had other plans. She decided to evacuate her bowels in bed and smear words of cruel mockery with her excrement onto the walls. She had an “Error” message and all I did was turn it on!?

I did what it told me to do in order to correct Gretchen and that didn’t work. I went to the Zune website, followed those instructions, and those didn’t work. I called the customer service line and spoke with a very considerate and knowledgeable Alex.

We did the same thing from the website again… No luck. Then he gave me some secret code with a series of buttons to push. That combination would reset and erase everything from the Zune… Even the preloaded videos!

By looking at my Zune from the secret call center through the Internet… He ascertained the problem was with my device and its hard drive. Alex is shipping out a box for me to ship it back to them. Then I’ll receive a brand spanking new one in about 15 days. So we’ll see how Gretchen II does.

I don’t know why computers and computer related gadgets give me so many problems. I get so angry because those things are often times way over my head. But if you give me a box of tangled wires and electronics like tape decks, turntables, speakers, and an amplifier…. I’ll have that baby up and running in no time at all. Need a satellite system up and running… I can do it. Need a DVR or VCR set up… No problem.

And it’s just typical that I would get the one in a thousand with a problem. It’s like those gadgets seek me out personally in order to drive me crazy and cause me to never trust new technology.

I’m constantly amazed that cell phones haven’t turned against me. But I’m not getting near one of those damned I-Phones. I’m avoiding them like a stack of New Kids On The Block albums.


  1. I had a basic SanDisk mp3 player - no problem. I got greedy and for my birthday asked for a nicer Sandisk that played videos with more storage. I spent almost a whole day ignoring my family, downloading, organizing,etc. I took it on my trip out west and the thing crapped out. Later I found out several other people had problems with the same model. I returned it and am back to using my plain jane model.

  2. I have a 60GB Creative Logic Zen Vision. It also plays videos and such which I don't use. I got it so I could store as much music as possible onto it. The one upside to the picture feature is that, when I have it on in my car and I have it on random (what I do with it most often), I can glance over at the screen and see the art work and recognize the album without having to pick it up and read the information. That's handy.

  3. Anonymous8:21 PM

    I want a new ipod -- my old one won't hold a charge for any length of time anymore. I'll give that one to the boy if hubby buys me a new one for Christmas. :)

    I don't know what I'd do without my MP3 player. At my local Teeter, I'm known as "the ipod lady".