iPod gigs don't grow on trees, as much as we've tried to plant lesser MP3 devices in the ground (in hopes of a bountiful Apple product harvest). And until somebody makes an infinite-RAM MP3 player, or we're capable of streaming music from our infinite hard drives to our handheld devices, man will continue to be vexed by the years-old problem of iPod re-shuffling. Here's how to do it without fear of judgment from anyone scanning your MP3 inventory.
1. Variety is a good thing, but comprehensive variety is suspicious.
Everybody at one point or another has, when asked what he listens to, replied stupidly: "Everything." These people do not exist; they're a myth, like permanent band break-ups. If we devoted our time to collecting music from every genre that existed, we wouldn't have time to know the details of the side projects of Radiohead or the names of most of the Cash Money Millionaires. Let's be honest, you'll never un-know any of those facts. So next time you're thinking about keeping that Celtic Women album in the fold for totality's sake, delete that manure.
2. Always have something fresh.
3. Vindicate yourself.
Yes, we know you're not a flag-burning xenophobic/racist, but how can we be sure? While it's not as full-proof as Stephen Colbert's wallet-sized photo of him with his one black friend, embracing genres of music not typically associated with your own race might make the D.A. think twice the next time you're accused of a hate crime.
4. The number of boner jams* on your iPod should be strictly proportional to your good looks and charm.
*Boner jams=Any song or musician that makes one more inclined to dance with their hips instead of their feet.
5. The absence of more than three of these artists suggests you are an android posing as a human:
- Michael Jackson
- The Beatles
- Bob Dylan
- Miles Davis
- Kanye West
- The Rolling Stones
6. Localvorism extends to music.
No matter where in the world you live, you should take some pride in the local arts and music scene. In these parts, it's hard not to have a Bay Area musician on your iPod, whether you know it or not. But be aware of who your local musical reps are; few things give a person a greater sense of civic pride than going to a party in another city, putting on your own iPod and yelling, "This is how we do it in (insert 'hood here)!"
7. Obsessions can be unhealthy.
Devoting more than 1 GB of space to a single musical act is a sure red flag for crazy. Yes, we know Phish is insanely prolific, but face it, you just don't have enough weed to get through all of it.
8. Have playlists ready to go for the following situations:
-- Dance party. We cannot stress this enough. Nobody wants to listen to the same artist sing more than two consecutive songs at any type of party. Remember how quickly those Michael Jackson remembrance parties got old? Mix it up.
-- Boner jams* (see above)
-- Sunny day mix, for the inevitable day drinking sessions.
-- Rainy day mix, to help the flow of nostalgia for those sunny day drinking sessions.