Doin’ the Ipod Shuffle

by vernsanders on October 19, 2010

Shortly after I finish writing this post, I’m getting into my car…again. I commute 40+ miles in each direction twice a week to my church position. A week or more ago I drove 200+ miles in each direction to see the Giants play in the NLDS. Today I’m making that trip north again to see games 3 and 4 of the NLCS. Last weekend I drove 1100 miles round trip to Phoenix in order to speak at the Christian Musician Summit.

Am I looking for pity? No. I like to drive. Most of the time I’m in the car on long trips, I think about things.

But last May, I decided to drive 3000 miles round trip to a speaking engagement in Canada, partly because I used to make the same drive regularly, and I hadn’t seen the countryside for some time. I was curious as to how it had changed. And so I made one of those “vision quest” decisions.

I have an Ipod…the classic 80 gig model. At the moment it tells me that I have 7875 “songs” on it. Some of those are very short tracks – a recit from one of the Bach passions, or an interview snippet from the Beatles live on the BBC. But it adds up to about 25 DAYS of uninterrupted music.

So I figured…hey, I’ll put it on shuffle, and listen to all the music I have before I add anything else to the Ipod. It’ll be great. I’ll get a car charger so that I can keep the battery charged and not quit before the end. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens when I get to #7875. Will the Ipod just stop? Or will it keep going and start over?

<aside…as a musician I buy a lot of CDs, and I’m sent a lot of CDs for review in the magazine. I estimate that that 7875 songs represents about 1000 CDs. I also give CDs to our kids for birthdays and Christmas, and I buy two of each…one for them and one for me, so that we can talk about what they’re listening to. The ground rules are that they have to listen to the CD at least once through. Sometimes it takes months, because they wonder if I’m nuts when they get an album by Trombone Shorty, or Ars Lyrica Houston, or Bob Wills or Imogen Heap. And one of my projects is converting my 1000+ vinyls (with not many dups in the CD list) to digital and adding them to my Ipod. But they’re not there yet.>

And it has been great. I’m hearing stuff I haven’t listened to in years. I’m hearing “B side” tracks from albums that I have to look at the display to figure out who the artist is. I’m enjoying the shift from choral to hip hop to country to Dashboard Confessional (gratuitous in-joke). I’m also getting great delight in regularly having one of those “oh, that’s a great tune…I haven’t heard that one in a while” moments.

This process began last May. I don’t listen to the Ipod every minute I’m in the car, but on long trips, like last weekend, I do listen most of the time. It is going slower than I thought it would. Last weekend I heard about 200 tunes in about 15 hours of drive time. I’m up to #1701. That’s of 7875! I hope to finish by the time my birthday rolls around next year.

But my Itunes on my computer has even more music on it now than it did when I last synced the two before the Canada trip. Sigh…

Do you have a vision quest going? What’s on your Ipod? Ever shuffled all the way through your entire collection? Please leave a comment…I’m interested to know.

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