Ghost in the Machine

Ladies and gentlemen, I'd like you to meet my iPod:

Maybe I should explain. See, when I originally bought my iPod Nano I fell instantly in love with it. The features, the ease, the seemingly endless storage space -- it was a dream. But then last week when my hard drive crashed, one of the really unfortunate side effects was some sort of glitch within iTunes that first wouldn't recognize the iPod at all, but then (after much hand-wringing and effort) decided to accept the input, followed by a fascinating sync session wherein everything I had put on the thing disappeared completely.

Fast forward to the present -- and I've got the computer running again, complete with a newly downloaded and re-installed version of iTunes. Unfortunately because the hard drive was new (or something like that) iTunes considered it to be a whole different machine, and made me jump through a couple of hoops before it would let me start refilling it with songs
One of which must have been the virtual equivalent of sacrificing
a chicken over a pentagram -- because now it's acting really weird.
First it was little things, like displaying the names of songs I uploaded, but then not actually playing them. Then it started storing my podcasts in the song library, hiding them inside the "various artists" category.

A little research on the web helped me get those things fixed; enabling me to get back to the task of loading all sorts of CD's and mp3 files from my personal collection onto the thing -- which is one of the main reasons I had wanted to get the thing in the first place.
Miles Davis -- check.
Frank Zappa -- bring it on.
Living Colour -- plenty of room
Mindless Self Indulgence -- dos of those babies
Cibo Matto -- entire library, thank you very much
Nothingface, Nonpoint, Deftones, Taproot, Sevendust, Skindred, Motograter, Ankla -- oh hell yeah
Meshell Ndegeocello, Prince, James Brown, John Legend, Marvin Gaye -- ain't no party without no ripple
Bowie, Hendrix, Talking Heads, King Crimson, PIL, Radiohead, The Police, TMDR, -- gotta have it
The Clash, Sex Pistols, Social Distortion, Vandals, Dead Kennedys -- I can't believe all this is fitting on here
Various one-offs, guilty pleasures (more on this later), and j's mix CD's -- All right, that's probably enough.
But then as I was putting all these things back on the shelves and packing it all up I realized that there were like 3 or 4 CD's that I had passed over while getting all this stuff that might be good to have on the Nano as well. So I opened iTunes back up and tagged on a couple of beloved favorites from Siouxsie and the Banshees, Killing Joke, Bauhaus, and The Cure.

Satisfied with a job well done, I packed everything up -- gawked in wonder at the 4 gigs of free space that are still available to use, and then caught the end of the Packers game (which by the way -- has anyone checked on Tom Coughlin's face to see if it's recovered yet? Dude was starting to look like Darth Maul for a while there).

Anyways, long story short -- I come to work the next day, put on my headphones, hit SHUFFLE SONGS and what do I get?
Cure Peter Murphy Cure Birthday Massare Cure Cure
Love and Rockets Siouxie Sioux Cure Cure Bauhaus Cure
Look, I like the stuff. It's good music. Hell -- I'm the one who put it on there. But it's just one of the many different styles of music that I enjoy -- and I sure as hell didn't spend two days stuffing songs onto this thing just so I could hear Bela Lugosi's Dead four goddamn times in a row.
It's like the ghost of some bitter little goth has gotten in there and taken over.
I mean, I'm not the worlds best math guy or anything, but if the shuffle function is supposed to choose random songs from a library that's already pushing 900+ items -- how the heck does something like that even happen?
I'll tell you how -- Ted must have gotten to it.
Ted S.; college roommate, former friend, and slumlord to us all for the first few years we lived in that off-campus apartment at FSU -- was infamous in the house for his obsession with two things: Listening to classic rock and telling anyone who would listen about the superior qualities of his super-expensive and finely tuned stereo equipment.

As such, he was more than happy (almost insistent, really) to set up his component system in the living room of the apartment for all of us to use.
There was only one problem:
Ted's CD player wouldn't play any of our stuff.
It was the weirdest thing. He'd set it up and put in one of his endless collection of greatest hits albums ("What, you guys don't like Boston? -- That's cool, because I've got Foreigner too.") and they would play like a dream.

But then we'd put in one of our Public Enemy CD's and the thing would immediately lock up, or skip through the songs so badly that you could barely listen to them at all. So we'd put different discs in there -- Bad Brains, Living Colour, Jimi Hendrix -- none of them would work. Ted would fiddle with knobs and buttons for a minute (to no avail), shrug his shoulders, and then say something like, "I don't know guys -- something must be wrong with your CD's."
And we'd be all like: "No way dude -- Your CD player is racist!"
He'd get all mad and huffy, call the whole idea ridiculous -- but no matter what we put in there, whether it was John Coltrane or Snoop Dogg it would just sputter, spin, and then flash the words "No Disc" before our eyes. What's worse, whenever we put the same CD's in Spruill's little $20 boombox they would play just fine -- which only added fuel to the fire.

I mean the whole thing was just kinda weird -- and all the teasing was intended as a joke, but just like everything else Ted sorta took it personally, and would get really mad whenever we called it names like "The Ku Klux Memorex" or "Massa."
..I can't tell you how much happier things became the day he finally got
into his CRX with the tiny speakers in the doors and drove out of our lives.
Of course none of this is gonna do anything help me figure out what to do about the ghost in the shell inside my Nano so I can randomly hear tracks by 40 Below Summer again. I mean, I guess I can put together playlists or whatever -- but to be honest, I was kinda looking forward to hearing what a shuffle mix of all my different musical tastes might sound like.
Then again, I could always call in a professional:

[Listening to:  The Cure"Charlotte Sometimes" ]