The Other End of Sunset

Monday, February 27, 2006

Ring tones, suggestions, and the occasional bad person

Hello, again, my OtherEnder Friends.

The weather STINKS here in the Bay Area. A "strong winter storm" is here. I want a strong summer storm -- because around here "summer storms" are hot sunny days. I'm tired of winter. I didn't ski a single day this winter, which makes me feel oh so strange. But I just couldn't get myself up the hill this year. Oh, well, maybe some other day, in some other year.

I decided to make a bunch of new ringtones, because I needed something to occupy a bit of my brain, during the early morning hours when I am awake, but not really able to work on anything material.

There isn't a lot of great software for the Mac to make ringtones. I can buy them from my provider, of course, but really, I want Wave of Mutilation, by the Pixies, and I want the version from Pump Up the Volume -- you think Cingular will have that? Yeah, neither do I.

So, I make my own. I'm sure there is a better way to do it than the one I use, but, deal with it. I take my iTunes library, select songs I think would be fun, and burn them to CD. (I have put all my CDs into a box in storage, so I just burn new ones of the songs I want on hard matter.)

Then, I reimport the CD songs (AIFF files) onto my hard drive as MP3 files (Audion helps here).

Then, I edit the MP3 files to the sections I want (I have pretty short tones, on average, like ~10 seconds), again using Audion 3.

Then, I use one of DataPilot's apps to move the resulting small MP3 files to my phone, where I select them as ring tones for the various people.

Not hard, just many steps, and so it is perfect insomnia work.

But then comes the hard part. Assigning ring tone to person.

Obviously, you have to select a ring tone that reminds you of something about the ringed person, right? Otherwise, it's just using your phone as a fairly inefficient MP3 player.

But, it's not so easy, in practice. Think about the problems here.

You can't choose just any song. For example, I have a friend who I love to death. She loves Depeche Mode, and I'm a pretty big fan, too. So I was going to use my favorite DM song -- Enjoy the Silence -- with the lyrics "All I ever wanted, All I ever needed, Is here in my arms"

Hmm, not very appropriate, given that she works with me. OK, so I go to another DM song I like -- Master and Servant. Wait, just from the name you know that won't fly.

So I end up at a perfectly innocuous song about ... well, suicide. OK, it's not innocuous, but I like it, and it meets the requirements, sort of.

I like Billy Idol. A Lot. So I was going to use Rebel Yell as a ring tone. Hmm, "in the midnight hour, she cried more, more, more ..." Again, not so work safe.

I made a tone from Flirtin' with Disaster (Molly Hatchett), for an 18 year old pal of mine ("I'm travelin' down the road, I'm flirtin' with disaster. Got the pedal to the floor, my life is running faster"). Seems appropriate for all 18 year olds, right? I mean, weren't you flirting with disaster at 18?

Then there are other, parallel problems. I have another coworker who is a little offended that she didn't have a ring tone of her own, and I had to find the "right one for [her]".

Yikes, now I feel performance anxiety.

But I accepted the challenge, and went digging through my random collection to find something that was kind of dance-like, and a little sarcastic, and somehow reminded me of my coworker.

Perfect, I found it! Don't' Cha, by the Pussycat Dolls. Oh, wait, I don't think I should use "don't cha wish your girlfriend was hot like me" as a ringtone for a female coworker. Didn't think of that. Ok, let's delete that song.

So, I ended up with a new song for my coworker -- Kundalini Express by Love and Rockets. Funny, danceable, upbeat, and very, very odd. The best part of this story is that she never calls me, so the whole thing is stupid.

But that gives me a great transition to my soapbox-du-jour.

This is an announcement
For the transcendental run
The train now standing
Leaves for higher planes
Due to a derailment
There will be no other train
So why not hop on this one?
Each carriage is connected
As is every single train
The rails all form a track
Which is a link within a chain
The chain's connected to another chain now
--- Love and Rockets, Kundalini Express

I am a reasonably religious person, although in an odd way. I do strongly believe in karma, fate, kismet, whatever. What comes around, goes around. Or some such. I think one should always remember that good actions should pay off in the end, and bad actions should as well.

I haven't always been good; indeed, sometimes I've been bad. And I feel that I pay for my bad actions (note tense, there may be future payments required). I have no idea if I benefit from my good actions, except that I feel better in general.

I have a close friend who is going through a very tough time. She reached out to a person she knows -- who is one of those bad people referred to in the title. She needed help. And he could easily have offered it.

Instead he sent her an email that can only be described as petty, cruel, and quite shitty. He could have ignored her request. He could have said no. But instead he chose to be a bad person.

Angels with silver wings
Shouldn't know suffering
I wish I could take the pain for you
-- Depeche Mode, Precious

Why would somebody be cruel to another person, ever, but particularly when a person needs help, desperately, that one can offer at low personal cost?

Seems wrong, in a moral sense.

Does it make me bad that I hope -- actively -- that a terrible thing happens to him, making him a laughing stock and hated (even more than his normal behavior does?)

Shall I have to pay for this thought?

I guess I shall find out soon enough.

Watch out, your coat is caught in the taxi door...