Preparing for the Inconceivable

"The making of a great compilation tape, like breaking up, is hard to do and takes ages longer than it might seem. You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you got to take it up a notch, but you don't wanna blow your wad, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules. Anyway... I've started to make a tape... in my head... for Laura. Full of stuff she likes. Full of stuff that make her happy. For the first time I can sort of see how that is done."

John Cusack as "Rob" in High Fidelity.

I have spoken before about my media problem. It all started with music downloads via the then-cutting-edge back in the late 90s. And much like Rob, I find the making of a musical compilation both intentional and tricky. I think too hard about it. Probably harder than do any of the listeners upon hearing the compilations I create.

I just filled the remaining space on a CD full of photographs for Looker with music. And despite no intention of ever seeing her again, my mind spins the same techniques as always, and I find myself jumping to new tabs to check lyrical content, playing back the assembled collection and mentally editing, replacing, and modifying. Before I know it the space has been filled with three and a half hours of music, most of it relevant and all of it (in my opinion) good quality.

Funny how that works. I've trained myself to try hard at everything. My mantra is always the same: "anything worth doing is worth doing well." And as a result, even when it really doesn't matter, I put forth the effort. I appreciate the upside though, which is that whenever it does matter, I'll be ready.

But I don't plan on it mattering again. Ever, really. So why should I take comfort in being prepared for the inconceivable?

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


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