Whirligig

Consulting project: done.

Other consulting project: done.

Dance lessons: done.

Dog-sitting: arranged.

Newspaper: stopped.

Apartment: cleaned.

Pre-event massage: ahhhh.

Homework assignments: some done, some packed (sigh).

Clothes, music, reading, and personal effects: packed.

Car service: ordered.

Table assignments: finalized.

Rehearsal and breakfast: organized.

Speech: written.

Tuxedo: tailored.

Tuxedo shirt: pressed.

Tuxedo shoes: tied.

Hand-tied bow tie: getting there.

And away we go. See you in September.

An unprovoked comment on MP3 swapping

Long before the advent of peer-to-peer file sharing, I was taping my friends’ LPs and CDs onto cassette to sample in my car. I have hundreds of classic rock albums on Maxell XLII90s in storage in my parents’ house.

I bought a CD burner in 1998 and burned scores of albums in the years since. When Napster hit I had a field day finding music I hadn’t heard in ages.

I am 30 years old and my music collection now includes more than 150 records, 500 cassettes and 1200 compact discs. The vast majority I bought retail or used. I once estimated that I have spent more than $10,000 on music in my lifetime.

Ten grand.

The unquantifiable portion is what I would have spent had I not had free access to music. It easily could be less. Would I have shelled out $60 for the first Led Zeppelin box set had I not taped their studio albums years earlier? Would I own six Morphine albums if I didn’t possess a burned copy of their debut first?

I do not disagree that file sharing has hurt the RIAA’s sales; a 25 percent decline in three years is severe. But the argument cuts both ways.

Got a light?

The clock–if I had a running clock–would read 11:15 p.m. The passage of time is one of the only normal things this evening; that and the dog’s desire to throw his bone around for awhile are about the only constants.

Interestingly, very little emotion followed this afternoon’s blackout (as the following details will reveal). The air conditioner made funny noises at 4:10. I glanced from my computer to the sofa and asked the dog, “What are those noises, pup?” Next thing we knew there was no power. My fiancee, Amy, was stuck in midtown, but Charley and I were safe and sound, so we hunkered down and waited.

Amy showed up close to six, not long after my phone briefly allowed for a few incoming calls, from her and from a friend in Chicago. Amy and I trekked down 11 flights of stairs to walk the dog, and I retrieved my car from the parking lot under the building. We quickly found a parking spot and returned upstairs to monitor the evening’s events.

Around 8 p.m. we decided not to bother driving anywhere, since traffic was so overwhelming, and at 9:30 we made a trip back downstairs (22!) to walk the dog. Not much else to tell. We had half a dozen candles and two flashlights to light the apartment, and we discovered the NYU Palladium dorm across 14th Street has massively bright emergency lighting in its glassed-in upstairs hallways, so our blinds are wide open and providing a fairly normal overnight glow.

On our first trip downstairs we bought bananas and water and haven’t really consumed either. Amy made peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for dinner. I didn’t eat. I read the paper–too weird a night to do classwork and too impossible to access my consulting files. Amy went to bed at 10:30 and I snuffed the candles at 11.

If you’re wondering, I’m on a laptop using a dialup account. One of the major gaffes of our day is not having a phone that runs without electrical power; the telephone system is working fine, if you can get to it.

Authorities hope to have power by morning. If we get up (with the sun around 6 a.m., since the blinds are wide open) and we are still shut down, we’ll be reverse commuting to our parents for a shower. And that’s that.

Oh, and Amy’s cell phone has worked most of the evening on her Verizon network while my AT&T GSM phone crapped out as usual. I am so ready for number portability.

And air conditioning.

Hot enough for ya?

Sitting in the back of a taxicab earlier this week, I glanced at the partition and noticed the name on the cabbie’s hack license:

SUET NG

And I thought, Well, in this weather. …