R.I.P. to My Travel Companion

The year was 2004. I was dating a techie who prided himself on having the latest and greatest of anything that even vaguely resembled a gadget. He was so obsessed that his house had very little in the way of actual furniture or dishes. However, if one of his gadgets needed a stand, a case or a shelf, it had the top of the line stand, shelf or case. One day we were riding in his car headed to dinner. I didn’t like what was playing on his radio and asked if he had any CDs. He got as excited as a kid on Christmas as he pulled out an MP3 player. I had no idea what it was but he took great delight in explaining it to me. At the time I had roughly 450 – 500 CDs. He didn’t know exactly how many CDs I had but he knew that my collection was pretty large. He went on and on and on about how if I were willing to spend a mere $500 that I could put all of my music on one of these MP3 players. If you know me, you know I’m cheap. I hadn’t yet developed the International travel bug but I had traveled extensively throughout the U.S. and did so frequently. Even back then I wasn’t spending $500 on anything unless it involved an airplane.

About a year later someone in my office insisted that I borrow their iPod to show me how great the thing was. After a couple of hours, I was hooked! I left the office that very afternoon and spent a couple of hours in the Best Buy talking to the salesman about all of my options. I believe that my options back then were “this one” or “that one” but that didn’t stop me from taking up all of his time talking about the gadget and all the accessories I would need (e.g., want) to go along with it. I spent all night and half the next day (it was a weekend) uploading my CDs. I wouldn’t be happy until they were all in there. After hours and hours of uploading, I had all 4,000+ of my songs in one spot. COOL! I spent another couple of hours creating and re-creating playlists of my favorite songs and artists. I was in music heaven!

As I began to travel more this little device proved to be invaluable. Prior to my iPod, I would have to pack a discman then decide which 24 or 48 CDs I just couldn’t stand to be without on that trip. That made my luggage quite heavy. Now I didn’t have to choose which CDs or artists I thought I might want to listen to on a given trip because I could take them all with me. That iPod moved from Phoenix to Chicago with me. It traveled all over the Midwest with me as I worked my territory for my job. It accompanied me on every vacation. It was with me every STRESSFUL holiday travel season and saved a LOT of annoying travelers from having to meet “Chrissy.” It was even with me when I took that ill-advised flight to Bermuda with a double ear infection and a sinus infection. (One day I’ll tell that story. It’s tragically hilarious. Trust me, it really is!).

After returning to Chicago from Bermuda, my iPod went on the fritz. I did the old reset and I was back in business. It started to get a little wonky more and more frequently. It probably had something to to with excessive use and dropping it from various heights onto all kinds of surfaces. I’m clumsy. The thing probably should have already been dead by then but it had kept on ticking. Then one day, about a week before a trip to London, it cut off and wasn’t responding to the usual reset routine. At that point I did the only thing I knew how to do, I spoke to it:

“Hey, look. I know I’ve put you through a lot. You’ve done more than any one iPod should be asked to do. But I need you to do this one last thing. Get me to and from London, and if you’re still not feeling it, I’ll put you down, Old Girl. Just do me this solid, ok?”

Wouldn’t you know it, five minutes later she went from the sad face of death to just needing a little charge. We were back in business!  A week after returning from London I was standing on the Red Line platform at the Harrison station when she finally said “That’s it!” I didn’t even try to restart it this time. I honored my promise and put her down.

In comes Sadie, the replacement. I got her two weeks after I put her predecessor down. That was the Summer of 2008. Since then Sadie and I have racked up some serious miles. If she had a passport, it’d be quite impressive. All those miles have taken a toll on her. Last week she decided to give up. I took her into the Apple store to see if they could do anything with her. I was told that Sadie was considered “Vintage.” Vintage was one step above “Obsolete.” Apple doesn’t service these old dogs. They don’t even carry the parts to do so. So, after 6 years, 14 countries and 50+ cities, Sadie is being laid to rest.

We’ve had fun, Old Girl! It’s a good thing you can’t talk to tell the stories though. Rest easy!
iPod RIP Pic

J+B = Beyoncé Part III

ICYMI: Part I (J+B = Beyonce Part I) and Part II (J+B = Beyonce Part II)

Following the “Flawless” remix, Beyoncé performed “Yonce” before once again disappearing through the stage and being replaced by Jay-Z. The rest of the concert’s format was much the same with the couple alternating sets and sometimes appearing together on songs that feature one another. When the tour was first announced, there was a lot of speculation about who would open, how they would close, who would get more stage time and could it even work for their very different audiences? The couple, and their production team, managed to put together a show that was a perfect blend of the artists’ catalogues and hits.

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J+B = Beyoncé Part II

ICYMI Part I: http://wp.me/p3MPGw-7j

“Call me back, I need some more packs.” Those are the last words we hear from Beyoncé before “Move that Dope” by Future comes blaring from the speakers. As awful as this song is (and I do mean awful), I LOVE it! And much like the rest of the crowd I danced and sang along. After a few bars, the moment we’d all been waiting for arrived! Jay-Z and Beyoncé appeared on stage and, somewhat predictably, performed their hit, “Bonnie & Clyde.” The couple then went into a medley of their hits together including “Upgrade U,” and “Crazy in Love” before Beyoncé left the stage and we saw the first solo performance of the evening. Continue reading

J+B = Beyoncé Part I

(I started writing this piece last Saturday after attending the On the Run Tour on Friday, September 12th. I’d put it away after starting to work on something else. The concert aired on HBO last night and I awoke to virtually my entire Facebook timeline discussing it. So I decided to finish this piece. It’s a little long so I’ve split it into three parts already scheduled to be posted later today. Here you go . . .)

Jay-Z and Beyoncé’s “On the Run” concert stage features a prominent “J+B” logo. However, on the night of September 12th the Parisian audience in Stade de France clearly belonged to B! Continue reading