September 13th, 2006


Wherein Technology Stymies Me

Lut and I went to Costco. In the electronics section of the store, they were playing a song by a Scottish group: "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)". "But I would walk 500 miles/ And I would walk 500 more/ Just to be the man who walked 1000 miles/ To fall down at your door". I bounced along to the tune. "I tried to buy this from iTunes," I told Lut, "but they didn't have it. I was so disappointed."

When we got home, the chorus was still going through my head; even listening to Nightwish during my evening run did not drive it off for good. I made another stab at finding it on iTunes. iTunes gave me two matches on "I'm Gonna Be", neither of which were by the Proclaimers. I wasn't actually sure if the version I was familiar with had been by the Proclaimers or not, but it seemed the most likely candidate based on Google searches. I debated buying the iTunes version. I went to Amazon and tried to listen to a clip from the Proclaimers' "best of" album to verify the version, but the clip-player didn't work. I went back to iTunes, planning to fork over my $.99 and see what the version they had sounded like. On my new search, I put in the full name including paranthetical bit -- and discovered that they did have it by "The Proclaimers" (with "The" as part of the band name). Apparently their library is better than their search algorithm.

I clicked "buy song" and entered my password.

"Download iTunes 7.0 to continue using the Music Store" iTunes ordered me cheerfully.

"Great," I said to Lut. "Now it's requiring me to upgrade in order to give them money."

"Sounds like it's time to try another service. What was that one I sent you -- eMusic?"

I located eMusic again, since iTunes had just busted their main advantage of "But I already have this program". I filled in my name, address, email, credit card information, medical history, shoe size, and the rights to my firstborn child* and eventually was permitted to search eMusic's catalog and download music. I looked for "The Proclaimers".

They had two albums by the group, neither of which included "I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)".

I searched for the song title, having learned from my search experience on iTunes. I got one match, for a group called "Najawajean". EMusic identified the band's genre as "Alternative/Punk". The cover art was a photo of a woman in a purple knit top. "Somehow," I said to Lut, "I don't think this is the version I'm looking for." On a whim, I downloaded it anyway -- what the heck, I get 25 "free" during the eMusic trial period. (It's a subscription-based service: $X per month for Y downloads.)

I giggled at the slow but still distinctive start. As the female vocalist sang the second line: "I'm gonna be the man who wakes up next to you", Lut remarked, "There's something not quite right about that."

Defeated, I returned to iTunes, downloaded the 7.0 version, rebooted my computer, fired it up, promised them my firstborn child** suffered through it "updating my iPod" -- "Why are you updating my iPod? I told you last version not to mess with it unless I asked!" told it that no, I still didn't want to upgrade my iPod software ("And I didn't want Quicktime either, thanks so much for not asking") and eventually managed to get it to agree to take my money and give me a song. I went to the "Recently Added" playlist to listen to it. "Your computer is not authorized to play this song. Enter your password now to authorize it." What the -- ? Fine, whatever, you can have my secondborn too just let me PLAY THE SONG.

An hour after I began my quest, the Scottish brogue of the Proclaimers' lead singer filled my den. "When I wake up yeah I know I'm gonna be/I'm gonna be the man who wakes up next to you."

Yes. Yes, this is the right one. Ah.

The song finished.

A song I didn't recognize began. "I didn't buy this song!" I exclaimed.

"Don't look at me," Lut said. "I've never heard it either."

It's "Kashi Vishwanath Gange" by Krishna Das. According to ITunes, I added it on 9/1/06, and the genre is "Meditation". Meditation? I listened, vaguely bewildered. The lyrics are -- Indian, I guess? After three or four minutes, I said to Lut, "I still don't know where this came from. But I think I like it."

"That's the important thing," Lut replied, philosophically.

So -- did any of you recommend "Kashi Vishwanath Gange" to me?

* On the bright side, I wasn't planning to have kids anyway.
** And if I do have a kid, there will either be an awful custody suit or a really ugly Soloman-style solution here.