Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The day the rap rock died

I often told my students when they vehemently defended their choice in music and movies that they would not listen to any of the same music in ten years anyway. What I did not realize at the time is how true that statement is in a way, even in my late 20s. It turns out that my tastes have changed considerably over the years, and that I own a lot of music that I never listen to. I have been feeling the need for a cull of my CDs for a few months, but I could not get around to it until now, so I have spent several hours over the past few days going through my music and getting rid of many albums (around 70 - about 3.5 GB or 1.5 days of listening on iTunes). I was somewhat surprised at the high total, since I had last gone through my music only two years ago when moving to Victoria, and I had departed with over 100 discs at the time. But when I considered it further, I realized that I should not have been surprised: many of the albums with which I am now parting were "on the bubble" two years ago, and I almost got rid of them then. I have some interesting observations about this group of albums - some similarities that intrigued me as I sorted through them. None of the albums are newer than 2004, and I have owned almost all of them for five years. This indicates two things: first, that my tastes started to change around 2005 (very true), and that these albums have had their shot to earn their keep, but just have not cut it. A vast majority of the albums were purchased secondhand - often as used demos - so many of them were actually bought on a trial basis initially. I began to realize how many of the albums I bought just to try them out, and how many of them never really caught on other than as an idea. There were some genres represented that I don't listen to anymore (oh, rap rock), and some that I used to like more but have been dialing back in recent years (hiphop). There were some artists that I really tried to appreciate, but just couldn't get into (Living Sacrifice). The cull did not amount to much in the end, but I feel a lot better now, like I can again not have to feel that annoyance when I boot up iTunes. Perhaps I can only handle so much music, and a necessary part of attempting to integrate new albums is getting rid of old ones. Perhaps I just need to go through my collection more carefully more often and keep it more tailored to my tastes. But as my CD purchasing has curtailed significantly in the past two years, maybe it will not be as much of an issue in the future; instead of buying the kind of albums that will inevitably end up in the rubbish heap, I'm only buying the albums I really like. All that is to say that if you're the kind of person who's still into rap rock c. 1999-2004, I may have some music for you.

Saturday, August 07, 2010

Camp detox

This summer marks my eighth time in the past ten years of working at summer camp or camp-like experience. This year's time with Encounters was a little different from past summers - working with Chinese students on several sites with a cross-cultural component - but I think it still qualifies. We finished earlier than expected, as it turned out to be unnecessary (and even inconvenient) for us to travel to LA with the group, so we have had a previously unexpected downtime in the Bay Area. We have spent some time in Berkeley, and a day in San Francisco, but most of our time since finishing the camp has been spent simply resting and preparing to re-enter life. This has included a larger-than-usual dose of sleep and internet use, both of which have been intended to correct a deficiency over the past month. We have been very privileged to stay with a great family in Walnut Creek, and we have been able to kick back, relax, and connect with some people in our spare time. There's nothing quite like being able to just exist for a few days, and to have access to laundry and internet; it has been almost four days, but I feel like the "camp detox" is almost complete. Camp takes such intense focus that I find it usually takes at least a day or two to get back into a groove; because this experience was so intense (though shorter than most summers at camp), it has taken a few more to get back to "regular" mode. Of course, we still don't know what that looks like for us when we return, and our return is still a week away because of a conference next week, so we'll probably have to "detox" again when we get back home. Sigh.

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