Monday, December 29, 2008

Should Auld Acquaintance Be Forgot

Don't worry, I'm not posting about the coming New Year... not yet, anyway.

No, today I'm reminiscing about some old friends, the times we've shared, the fun we've had, and all we've been through together over the years.

I'm speaking, of course, about my music collection.

Ever since I bought my 4th-generation iPod a couple of years ago, I've slowly but surely been encoding my CD collection into a more portable digital format. Having amassed a sizable collection over the years (over 500 CDs), one can imagine the task is daunting, to say the least. Herculean, at worst. Not having a great deal of time to devote to this endeavour (us CSIS agents are kept busy these days), I usually select a few CDs at a time (say, 5 or so) every so often, prioritizing what gets ripped and when - from CDs I duly love, to CDs I bought for some unfathomable reason during a weird phase in my life. At the rate I'm going, affected proportionately by the rate my collection is growing, I should be finished sometime in the next eight years. Give or take.

What to do, what to do...?

"I know!", I thought, "I'll rig something up in the lab! Yeah, I think I saw a KVM switch somewhere while cleaning up! And a modem router!"

What really scares me is that I don't remember buying (or otherwise acquiring) half the stuff in my lab, yet somehow "know" that it's there and where to find it. I think it either "magically appears" there or that I'm acting under post-hypnotic suggestion, amassing electronics for some unknown but insidious purpose. It would certainly explain why I never feel rested after a night's sleep...

Anyway, back on track. My KVM switch allows up to four computers to use a single keyboard, mouse, and monitor (but not simultaneously), and coincidentally, my NetGear modem router allows up to four computers to share one modem connection (simultaneously). With me so far? Good.

The next step was digging out four PCs - lucky for me, there were several identical Pentium 133s at the back of the lab that I'd been trying to donate to a worthy cause. Well, my music collection is the cause du jour, so I powered 'em all up - all were fully functional, with then-fresh installs of Mandrake Linux 9.x (back before it became Mandriva Linux)...

After checking each system out, making sure everything was in working order (and that I had sufficient hard drive space), I piled a stack of ten CDs on each machine, then set about ripping and encoding CDs in each machine simultaneously, using the KVM to occasionally monitor progress, and using the modem router so that each machine could do a simultaneous CDDB/Gracenote lookup for each album I was ripping, ensuring the album, artist, track names, and order were all correct. After which, the tracks were fed via network to my Linux box in my home office for later burning to DVD.

Using cast-off goods that most people would have deemed useless and thrown out, I was ripping and encoding four CDs simultaneously. I did forty CDs in about two hours. How's that for efficiency?

Sometimes, I fucking scare myself.

--

Back on the topic of my "auld acquaintances", once I got going with my newly repurposed setup, I started delving deeper into my CD library. The memories came flooding back once I reached songs and albums I hadn't heard in years.

I started to remember my early adult years, when I was really into surf and surf-punk, which led to punk, thrash, and death metal when in my early twenties, the JPOP of my mid-to-late twenties, to the industrial, goth, and electronic stuff I listen to now, with a smattering of folk, lounge, and downtempo I've picked up along the way.

Most of these albums were uploaded to my iPod and, while on the bus to work this morning, I went back in time.

The songs?

Armageddon Dildos - Homicidal Maniac (video edit)

Rosetta Stone - Adrenaline (Mainline mix)
Leæther Strip - Strap me Down

Christian Death - Death Wish and Death Wish (Wishful Death mix)
Cassandra Complex - The War Against Sleep
Sigue Sigue Sputnik - Love Missile F1-11

Revolting Cocks - Da Ya Think I'm Sexy, Stainless Steel Providers, No Devotion, and Attack Ships on Fire
ClockDVA - The Hacker, Soundmirror, and Voice Recognition Test
Skinny Puppy - Brap, Smothered hope, and Glass Houses

I was in my glory for a full hour.

I can't wait to see what surprises the rest of my collection holds.