Friday, September 29, 2006

Something's Missing

Now that the second full week of sickness is, in theory, far behind, and I'm wrapping up being back in the office without that nagging, overwhelming sense of not feeling right, I'm strictly focused on a variety of business and personal tasks which I keep listed in my Palm. Between the time spent out of the office and the fact that all that time was spent semi-consciously pacing between the computer, the couch and my bed (as well as the bathroom), I'm still not quite myself, though who I actually am is still up to debate.

One of the reasons why I remain in this sort of post-sickness limbo is the physical fact that, despite my best efforts to the contrary, I'm still not quite back to 100%. My sleep patterns are still not normal, meaning I find myself waking up at ungodly hours, eg 2:30AM or 5:45AM, for little or no reason. On some level, I think it has to do with temperature change and the fluctuating performance of my A/C; it seemingly works when it feels like it and shuts off arbitrarily, leaving little or no cool air and, in its place, a thin sheet of ice over the interior unit's coils. On the bright side, if I need shaved ice for mixed drinks while having company over, it's far more efficient at producing this confection than is my freezer.

Except I rarely have friends over at 4AM during the week when I'm actually trying to catch up with sleep. But I can still be optimistic, even if I know, as I write this, that I'll hear the A/C fuse misfire and shut down, leaving me with the dreaded silence and stuffy, humid air that, for whatever reason, pervades my apartment whether it's 80 or 50 outside.

Meanwhile, I've actually been enjoying the new version of iTunes, which Apple released out of nowhere (and on which I commented) several weeks ago. At first glance, iTunes was simply a computer-based version of the contents of one's iPod, but the iPod, like many of Apple's products, is a better thought-out version of other companies offerings. The best example of this is Apple's building in certain intuitive features into iTunes (and thus, the iPod) like tailoring randomly-created playlists which somehow manage to follow what stuff you enjoy hearing and what stuff you don't. To that end, they embolden iPods with the ability to allow the user to rate songs on the fly, and now, iTunes tracks not only those songs you listen to but those which you skip past, so you can actually create random playlists with a criteria that accounts for not including songs you frequently pass by. The bottom line is Apple, yet again, has managed to redefine the ideal portable music experience with a very sensible but very creative, and very simple, feature. My apologies to those who find my focusing on this particular fact as boredom-inspiring; it's just that I appreciate great products whose design is clearly well thought-out.

In the meantime, speaking of well-designed, I've been suffering silently with regard to my ever-burgeoning DVD collection. It's got to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 or more titles, and while I struggle to keep it organized and dust-free, I've noticed as my current DVD rack sags with the weight of more and more discs. A friend of mine who is moving has the same problem, and he mentioned that his new apartment has built-in shelving that he plans on using for his collection, with numbers more than 1,000. Lucky for me, he offered to give me his old rack, which is made by a company called Atlantic and pictured to the right. It's called the Penguin (a reference to its feet) and it should be a marked improvement over my old, sagging rack (yes, that phrase refers to a piece of furniture which is designed to hold things, and not a part of my anatomy). So sometime this weekend, most likely Saturday morning, I plan on taking delivery of a new rack, transferring the titles from the old rack to my bed, swapping out the old rack and leaving same in the garbage area in the basement of my building, and populating the new rack with my collection. I'm guessing the entire process, once the rack is in my place, should take an hour or two; between that and dusting off the cases, I'll have a brand-spanking new setup and the revitalization of my apartment will plod onward, yet another step towards apartment nirvana. Despite the fact that Kaia and I plan on finding a place sometime in the next six or so months for a June 1st move-in date, I'm still trying to keep my place safe for human consumption. So as my apartment goes, so do I; sometime before we actually move in, I'll actually, on some level, be living like a bona-fide adult :)

In the meantime, with all the early-morning insomnia, I've ventured forth into auditory exposition that somewhat varies from my typical musical taste. It's sort of hard to bleed an amp at 5:30 AM, not simply because of whatever respect I have for my neighbors, but simply because I'm not really looking to test the capabilities of my speakers before the sun comes up. So aside from that Johnny Cash album I've been listening to, I fired up John Mayer's second album, "Heavier Things," and while I can't not really dislike his music, I still stand by my initial reaction to him, which is that his stuff is a tad too girly for my tastes. But, the more I listen to both of his albums, I must admit he's definitely a decent guitarist, and his second album has quite a few introspective tunes that deserve respect. The first is "Clarity," which is, on one level, about a relationship with which he is eager to move forward:
And I will wait to find
If this will last forever
And I will wait to find
That it won't and it won't
Because it won't
And I will waste no time
Worried 'bout no rainy weather
And I will waste no time
Remaining in our lives together.
As I listened, it occurred to me, at least in one of my few remaining brain cells, that this song isn't about a relationship with a woman but instead his relationship with fame and celebrity. He's no one-hit wonder; but he would also be far from the first or the last performer, with talent, who winds up in bargain bins at the local Walmart. And I commend him for seeing things as clearly as he apparently does. Hence the title of the song, "Clarity."

The next one, "Bigger Than My Body," echoes these same sentiments, ie about remaining the same person even after the fame departs:
Someday I'll fly
Someday I'll soar
Someday I'll be so damn much more
Cause I'm bigger than my body gives me credit for
Cause I'm bigger than my body now

Maybe I'll tangle in the power lines
And it might be over in a second's time
But I'll gladly go down in a flame
If the flame's what it takes to remember my name.
After listening to this tune, especially against the backdrop of the very public and very messy former relationship between he and Jessica Simpson, I chuckled at how different they are, and I gained some respect for him, not just for the fact that his lyrics seem to really introspective, but that he seems to be a real person who looks past the celebrity and the fame and the other bullshit that accompanies it.

I think these are songs I once skipped past and will, from this point forward, be listening to more often.

And as I sit here, in a futile battle with some misplaced insomnia, I hear the lyrics to "Something's Missing" and plan on hitting the shower.
Something's missing
And I don't know how to fix it
something's missing
And I don't know what it is
At all.

No comments: