In honor of Independence Day, take some road trips
How I Bought My Movie

My cherished iPod Classic

This is what I'd save from a fire.

I can play nearly anything on command through my phone or Kindle Fire HD. But they don't mean as much to me as my carefully organized iPod collection. They never could.

This one is only a few months old, actually. The older one was starting, just starting, to not hold a charge for as long when Apple discontinued it. I emptied my piggy bank for another one.

I can plug it into many devices in or outside our house, because I like my music everywhere; that is, I like the option of it everywhere. I also take great pleasure in silence, of course. But there's a stereo system I put together from thrift store purchases—except for the speakers. There's a dock in the kitchen, a portable unit with an mp3 cord for gardening or hanging out on the porch, two sound bars, and of course, the car stereo.

It never needs wifi, and it doesn't even need electricity, except to charge every few days. Currently, it has about 6000 songs on it, about half of which have very high bit rates, and it will hold 9000 more if I want it to. It also serves as a backup hard drive for photos and other files.

Every device we buy these days has more and more functionality. But this device does only one thing, and it does that thing very, very well. It just works. As I grow older, this becomes more important to me than ever. I'm surrounded by a lifetime of possessions already; what do I need with a media player that also toasts bread and takes my temperature?

The Kindle is super because even though I love my books, there is only room for so many of those along the walls of a house, but many times that amount accessible to me online. Recently, I bought all seven Outlander volumes for $2.99. They take up no space, and if the Kindle died, I could still read them online some other way. A few years ago, many people I know were railing about the Amazon Cloud and lack of ownership. But in a very short period of time, all those same people have watched movies online, listened to music online, and have swiftly given up the notion of physical ownership of media, because they are always seeking more and more of it, like children looking out over fields and fields of candy.

I do those things, too, and am able, like others, to broaden my horizons because of it, but if life online ended, I wouldn't miss it much. I'd watch and listen to and read what I already own, having made an effort over the years to collect only what matters to me most. The best candy, rather than the biggest bag of it.

I'm changing the playlist names today. I do that every eight or nine months or so, but the basic themes of them remain mostly the same. I can then choose a mood or a genre or an album and just let it play; no ads, no interruptions, no fuss.

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