Dust-Covered

The work on our upstairs bathroom proceeds.  We knew it would take weeks, and that there would be workers in the house during that time, and that we’d need to use the downstairs bathroom, but the project had one byproduct I didn’t fully anticipate.

Dust.  Lots and lots of dust.

mezzanine_409When the tile was removed from the drywall in the bathroom, it produced dust.  So did pulling down the drywall.  So did prying off the floor tile, removing the shower basin and toilet, and taking the medicine cabinet off the wall.  I’ve concluded that most bathroom fixtures and coverings must be made of about 90 percent compacted dust.

And here’s another fun fact about dust that I’ve learned:  dust is adventurous.  Dust likes to explore.  Dust apparently wasn’t happy about being trapped in the bathroom for all those years, and now it wants to get out and see the world — or at least the upstairs of our house.  And dust must be curious, too, because it seems to be ending up in virtually every nook and cranny of our upstairs sitting room and bedroom and closets.

Every night when I walk upstairs, I enter the dust zone, and I think of the Oklahoma Dust Bowl of the 1930s and photographs of thin, sad-eyed women holding babies and children and staring forlornly into the distance.  There’s a fresh layer of fine dust everywhere, on the floor, on chairs, on my desk, and on the clothes in my closet.  We’re probably being covered with dust as we sleep, too.

But here’s the worst part — every time I see the dust, the Kansas song Dust in the Wind runs through my head.  It’s unquestionably one of the most morose, whiny, annoying songs ever recorded.  What could be worse that coming home from a hard day’s work and hearing Dust in the Wind, over and over again?  (Well, I suppose hearing Gordon Lightfoot’s  The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald, but that’s a bit off topic.)

I’ll be glad when the bathroom project ends, and we can shake the dust off and move on.

 

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Culling The Ipod

When you first get an Ipod, you have the tremendous luxury of seemingly infinite space.  You can put enormous amounts of music on the virgin Ipod, and therefore there really is no need to make careful choices.  The default answer to the download question for every song is “yes.”  Basically, unless you despise the song — say, the way I feel about Kansas’ Carry On, My Wayward Son and Dust In The Wind — you decide to include it.

After a while, you notice that you’ve got a lot of songs on the Ipod, and the remaining space is getting limited.  You decide that you need to get rid of some of the stuff on the Ipod, and think that perhaps you were a bit too accepting of mediocrity in loading songs in the first place.  At that point, you face the interesting challenge of culling the Ipod.

There are countless ways to cull the Ipod.  You could start from a top down perspective by looking at your playlists or categories and thinking about whether, for example, you have too much classical music.  Or consider instances where you loaded an entire CD onto the Ipod and think about whether it is worth having Revolution No. 9 on the Ipod just so you have the complete Beatles’ White Album.  (I voted no on that one.)  Or you can go bottom up, by looking at all of your songs and eliminating duplicates.  Do you really need both the studio and the live version of a song?  Is it worth it to have both The Guess Who and the Lenny Kravitz version of American Woman?  (I voted yes on that one.)  Or you can get down to the micro level and listen to each of your playlists and then decide which songs reasonably can be eliminated to free up some space.

The latter is my preferred approach.  I like the song-by-song approach because you feel you are giving all of the songs a fair shot.  After you give a final listen, you make a decision.  In reality, songs that were interesting at the beginning can get old, or can just seem . . . average.  Who wants meh songs on their Ipod?  If you want to listen to average stuff, you listen to the radio.  On my Ipod culling expeditions, stuff that seems average to me hits the cutting room floor.

Carry On, My Wayward Son, Dust In The Wind, And Other Unpleasantness

We had a few beers after work today to celebrate another successful 24 Death Pool, and to my astonishment the future Commish took the position that Kansas was a great rock group and Carry On, My Wayward Son and Dust in the Wind are great rock songs. I have to admit this caused my considerable respect for the future Commish to plummet, because any right-thinking rock music fan knows that those are two of the worst songs ever recorded by one of the most overrated rock bands ever to feign a power chord. The pompous lyrics, the droning music, the uninspired guitar work featured in Dust in the Wind and Carry On, My Wayward Son are like the ’70s “power rock” equivalent of the worst George Harrison sitar songs of the ’60s. There’s a reason that Dust in the Wind was mentioned to Socrates in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, and it wasn’t because it was a great song — it was because it was a joke, then and now.

I hated Kansas albums, Dust in the Wind, and Carry On, My Wayward Son back in the ’70s when they were first released because they were like a stereo tooth drilling, without Novocaine. They haven’t improved with age.