Time has stopped dead. On the whole, doubtful.

I try to walk to work whenever I can, partly because the four-mile walk is pretty good exercise, but mostly because it gives me fifty minutes of uninterrupted music.   South Dakota is, surprisingly, not a hotbed of industrial-gothic-EBM counterculture, so my mornings spent with me and my MP3 player are the closest I get to clubbing these days.

The selection of songs for each walk, made courtesy of my Rio’s “shuffle” feature, varies dramatically in quality from day to day, which  I suppose is not surprising given the quantity of songs from which it may select.   Many days it feels as though the software designers were unclear as to the finer points of shuffleometry, as the MP3 player decides to simply play song after song after song from, say, the exact same album or artist.   Or in extreme cases, the exact same song over and over again (albeit, different remixes).

Such seemingly statistically anomalous events, when they occur, invariably turn my thoughts to Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead — perhaps my favorite play of all time, and certainly my favorite work by Tom Stoppard — from which I mentally paraphrase a  list of possible explanations, which include:

Time has stopped dead, and the single experience of one track being played once has been repeated ninety-times. On the whole, doubtful.


A spectacular vindication of the principle that each individual song selected individually is as likely to be chosen as any other song, and therefore should cause no surprise each individual time it does.

and concluding with

One, probability is a factor which operates within natural forces. Two, probability is not operating as a factor. Three, we are now being held within un-, sub-, or supernatural forces.

I do like the idea of un-, sub- or supernatural forces being behind my music selection.

Anyhow, for every head-scratching choice made by the “shuffle” feature, there is also a sparkling gem of a playlist conceived via this technologically arbitrary process. Today’s was, in particular, a good’un:

  1. Fictional: On Helloween
  2. Toy: Charisma she said
  3. Epsilon minus: Freedom (restriction)
  4. Neuroticfish: Mechanic of the sequence
  5. Hyperdex-1-sect: Les amants
  6. Franka Potente: Wish (Komm Zu Mir)
  7. Josh Wink: Higher state of conciousness (higher stated)
  8. Assemblage 23: Anthem (exodus)
  9. Razed in black: Visions (reprise)
  10. Statemachine: Comprehensive

I’m not sure what it says when random chance can pick a better track listing for a mix CD than I can, but I’d like to think it’s because the un-, sub-, or supernatural forces all dig electro music.

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