Yesterday O’Clock

Special Forces Sniper
This guy was dead asleep in his underwear exactly 33 seconds ago.

Doing Army stuff is awesome.  Except that it starts so early, the time is best described as “yesterday.” 

It’s not uncommon to hear (through my ears), something along the lines of “Formation at Yesterday O’Clock, soldiers!  Then we head to the range for M-16 qualifying.” 

I assume he means we will be qualifying with the rifles by the light of Orion’s belt, since that will be the major source of target illumination for the next 5 hours.

My particular training class has a group of Army Rangers in it, along with some Special Forces guys too.  They all decided to hang up the guns and take up stethoscopes as P.A.’s and pursue things in life, like hobbies and families.  As you might expect, these guys can handle Yesterday O’Clock better than anyone. 

It’s a bit mystical, really.  In our tent of 30 men, someone starts to stir at the ungodly prescribed hour, and everyone just organically follows suit.  Soon every guy in the tent is methodically working step-wise to primp themselves (Army-style, more on that later) for another dimly lit Army morning. 

Everyone except the 4 Rangers.  They stay there, still as statues, enshrouded in their sleeping bags while the tent becomes a kicked anthill of activity.  The minutes tick by, the spectre of arriving to formation suffusing the humid tent’s air. 

Maybe these Ranger guys so easily stare down scary things like being late to formation because they’ve stared down much scarier things, like death via hot shrapnel.  Whatever.  Fine. But here in our little AMEDD training world, being late to formation is scary.  And being late is easy, because it’s scheduled so freaking early, it’s yesterday o’clock.

As the appointed “time” (more of a philosophical concept, this early in the morning) approaches, a frantic rush ensues.  In desperation, we huff out to stand in our little box of humans, also called “formation.”  And guess who’s standing there, looking sharp and ready to plant a spear in a saber-tooth bear? 

The Rangers.  2 minutes ago these guys were lined up on their cots like 3-toed sloths on an ativan drip.  The rest of us have been running around for 45 minutes. 

“Where you guys been?”  One of them asks, as I run up, wild-eyed and still priffing with my uniform.  “We’ve been here since yesterday.”

DIE-Tunes

I believe I have just witness the beginning of the death of iTunes.  As much as I’ve tried and tried to like iTunes, I can’t express how happy I am to see a true and valid competitor emerge to thwart them.  And, I think this will DESTROY them.

Amazon, you rule.

iTunes Icon
Something Tells Me I've Just Violated A Copyright By Posting This Logo.

Now you can buy Mp3’s from Amazon.com and – here’s the sell – store your tunes to the cloud, not on your own hardware. I’ve been begging (in my head) for this for YEARS.  The cost and hassle of trying to constantly figure out where to store my songs and shows that I’ve downloaded from iTunes has been one endless headache.  This has as much to do with the fact that I’M MAKING A GENUINE EFFORT NOT TO STEAL THEN (in all honesty, this is my big mistake).  Being legit, I’m constantly plagued with copyright protections on iTunes products that makes storing and moving MY copies of digital media almost impossible.

The obvious solution (one that still supports the artists and their decadent renunciation of most human moral codes) is to simply quit making me store the songs in the first place.  Just stream them from some central server that I never even deal with.  Amazon Cloud Player (actually real, actually available, actually currently playing 1 of 100 of the top trance tunes of 2011 that I just bought as a collection for…9 bucks) does just that.  Finally.

One example:  I had a tiny netbook, with virtually zero hard drive space.  So I tried to store all my tunes (and shows) on an external hard drive.  Then I switched computers, and wanted to move that data.  Tough.  Sounds easy, but it ain’t.  To Apple, it looks like I’m stealing them, or selling them in some virtual dark alley, furtively looking over my shoulder and waiting to hear Hugo Weaving bellow, “Mr. ANDERSON!”  If I’d just legitimately STOLEN the damn songs in the first place, I could play them wherever I wanted, moving them like so many Word files.

Zeus with a laurel crown. Gold stater from Lam...
SW101: God Of Ruined Mp3 Players.

 

Another example:  If ruining ipods (usually by jogging in the rain) was a God-like attribute, I’d be warming up a U-haul for my move to Mt. Olympus.  I just sorta never believe water is actually bad for anything.  It’s a swimmer thing.  Anyway, my iTunes can only be played on 5 players unless I “de-authorize” a player.  This sounds find, but how do I de-authorize a player that has suddenly transformed into really unique thin mint?  I can’t even turn it on long enough to de-authorize the glorified aluminum can.  Same for my original computer that held the results of my first foray into iTunes psychosis.  It suffered a massive “heart” attack at some point.  That’s 1 authorized player I’ll never get back.

Six hard disk drives with cases opened showing...
Hard Drives, Hard Drives Everywhere...

 

Now it doesn’t matter.  My tunes are floating out there, in the beloved cloud.  Free from the confines of my cheap, inefficient hard drives that never seem to have enough space.  With Cloudplayer, the tunes stream, so presumably, copying them illegally is much harder.  So, I would hope that Amazon will be HELPFUL when I try to use one device or another, or when I mistakenly put my Mac Mini in the microwave, expecting a nice melty pizza in 2 minutes and 30 seconds.

Plus, it’s Seattle busts Cupertino.  Kurt Cobain vs. The Grateful Dead.  The Sound vs. The Bay.

Die.  Die Tunes.  You had your chance, Appletini.