Friday, January 30

The Mini-Mix.



I have OCD. I've never denied this, as I consider my particular brand of OCD to be just mild enough to help structure my life in a responsible way. For example, my anxiety makes it impossible for me to leave the house without a balanced checkbook, but stops just short of having me wash my hands 600 times immediately thereafter. Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder is the glue that keeps my life from crumbling, and I'm well aware of that.

Still another positive result of OCD are the little projects and hyper-focused, late-night creations that seem to get pulled out of nowhere from time to time. Something that, when glanced at by a foreign eye, seems unnecessarily complicated and trivial, yet turn out to be pretty cool ideas in the light of day.

Like Mini-Mixes.

I'll preface this by admitting that I'm probably not the first person to invent the Mini-Mix (or even the millionth, probably), but I get the feeling that the bulk of my audience would appreciate something as needless-yet-completely awesome in every way as the following creation. Here's where my inspiration came from.

My commute to work is almost concrete in nature. 10.5 miles each way, approximately 22 minutes on the road at a time. It's not a lengthy commute by any means, but it's still long enough that I want to listen to music on my iPod for the duration. Typically, I spend more than five minutes a commute skipping around, dissecting playlists or otherwise distracting myself from watching the road or actually listening to any music at all, while searching for that next perfect track.

This is where the Mini-Mix comes in. I've decided to create a veritable library of 5-7 track mixes that not only last the exact length of the 20-22 minute commute, but each have their own specific mood and theme. I choose a mix before I leave the house, and the Mini-Mix does the rest. No wasting time skipping or skimming around; just a handful of killer tracks for a short attention span.

Here's an example. This is my Mini-Mix, entitled "The 80's Loves You!" I mainly chose to share this list with you because it's easily the most embarrassing and guilty-pleasure-y mix that I have.

1. The Outfield - ‘Your Love’ - 3:43
2. Rick Springfield - ‘Jessie’s Girl’ - 3:13
3. The Cure - ‘A Night Like This' - 4:19
4. Squeeze - ‘Another Nail In My Heart’ - 2:55
5. The Smiths - ‘This Charming Man’ - 2:44
6. New Order - ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’ - 3:50

6 Tracks - 20:44

You really have no idea how much the Mini-Mix has changed my commute for the better. Sound off in the comments section and enjoy your weekend. Also, let me know what your Mini-Mixes would consist of, and go here if you still need to hook your iPod up to your car. There's a Major CDP Announcement arriving on Monday, so please stick around for that.

Comments:
I have a different mini-mix for different occasions. I have the "Morning Routine" mix, the "Dog-Walking" mix, the "Drive Home From School" mix, the "Going to Get Gas" mix, the "I Have Excess Energy and Need to Sing Along to Loud and Nostalgic Songs" mix, and so on and so forth.

I suppose having a different mix for different moods could be productive, I chose this method: I have a different mix for different occasions. Songs cycle out at a rate of approximately one to two every two weeks, and some have stayed steady and true so long as I have had the mix. I usually have a base of three-to-four songs that fit the tone of the event or activity, and leave two or three spots open for cycling songs in and out depending on what I am listening to at the time, the season, my overall disposition at that point in my life, and other unpredictable things of this nature.

They really can be quite useful, they're like dividers in the three-ring binder that is my life.
 
This is precisely what I'm talking about. Thanks for sharing, you've set an additional bar for me (mixes for everything!).
 
This makes me sad that my MP3 player has been out of commission for over a year. Thanks Microsoft for your obsolete device that constantly needed updating and reformatting. I use Pandora at work and at home now, and during my commute I listen to CDs my friends have made for me, which often contain random sound effects from movies (like dinosaurs roaring from Jurassic Park - that'll wake you right up).
 
I am going to share a deep, dark secret with you, fellow CDPeons. My in-laws got me an iPod for Christmas over a year ago. I was thrilled. In over a year I have used that iPod perhaps 2 dozen times and I haven't added music to it since last January. I have never downloaded music. I have never made a playlist. I love music, and this notion of mini-mixes seems brilliant, so I don't know what is wrong with me. Please help.
 
When I first got my iPod I set up a bunch of different playlists for different genres and such, but I found that I never really listened to them. You see, I'm more of an album listener as opposed to individual songs, and after hearing one song from a particular artist I'd want to hear the next track. Also, I get a bit upset when people skip to their favorite tracks when I give 'em control of the iPod when I'm driving, and I get positively livid if people listen to half a song and then go to another. That's my most OCD feature, other than my need to have all my beer pints and rocks glasses arranged in a certain way.
 
MAUS - Are you friends with foley artists? Actually, that sounds pretty cool; get that iPod fixed!

BERRY BEAR - Beats me. Give yourself an afternoon one weekend to really dig into your library and sort stuff out. Like smoking, it'll only become an addiction if you work at it.

WALLROCK - See, you're somewhat of an anti-iPod Generation type of guy. Album-oriented and whatnot; I totally and completely understand that.

I also understand the rocks glasses thing. You know, they call it a rocks glass because it rocks.
 
I'm split pretty well 50/50 when it comes to preferring whole albums or mixes. And while I love making new mixes, I can't say I've ever tried the 'mini' version suggested here. Something to think about.

At the moment, I'm in the midst of the crazy (and somewhat unnecessary) task of creating a History of Electronic Music mix. It's pretty epic--seriously, the first song dates back to the 1920s--but will likely only appeal to me. If I'm wrong, let me know and I will totally post the results when I put the finishing touches on it.
 
wallrock, I hate it when people switch songs in the middle! What is that about? I think it's symptomatic of our society's increasing inability to concentrate on anything for more than a few minutes and wanting constant, instant gratification. Bugs me so much.

I never really thought about it, but I think I'm an album-listener, too, especially if it's a song from an album I've heard a lot and the end of one song just naturally signals the beginning of the next in my brain, so if I don't get that next song and instead get something else, it's like when you forget you've switched from drinking water to Sprite or something. It may taste perfectly good but it's not what your brain was prepared for so it's unappealing.
 
I listen to CD's. From beginning to end. And I'll let it stop in the middle of a song if I've arrived at the store. And I'll let it pick up where it left off when I leave the store. *gasp* No mixes needed.
 
Oh and wallrock, don't ride in a car with the CDP unless you want to hear millions of 1/2 songs and just the "best" song by this or that artist. It's incredibly irritating.
 
I was anti-single and anti-iPod for years, jumping on the bandwagon only a few years ago. I have since seen the error of my ways, and adopted a more singles-minded approach to music as of late. We're in a new era of singles, so I'm riding the wave while it lasts.

I haven't played a half-song in my car in at least six years.
 
I used to be an album person, and still am. But if I'm at work I like to have a random sample. If I have albums than I concentrate more on the music than on my work. And that can be bad.

I hooked up a system in iTunes that gives me a "smart" random smattering of songs from my playlist -- it picks some newer ones from my collection, some ones that I love etc. It's magically updates this when I plug in my iPod. No muss, no fuss.
 
Happy birthday, you fantastic OCD-ridden nutcase!
 
I am a hopeless skipper. It does not matter what I am listening to...my mood and musical desire changes on a whim.
 
DUFF - Thanks much, man!

HILBELINK - I have days like that, where nothing is working for me. This is also when I'm the biggest danger on the road, subsequently.
 

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