Too, Too, Too Much Content

I’m working on a mix CD to distribute at a wedding I’ll be attending over Memorial Day.  It’s a way to distribute a lot of the new music I’ve run across, and also just an excuse to do a mix CD, which I enjoy.  For those of you who also like to get in on the mix CD action, have no fear: the Pipeline People Summer07 Mix will be unveiled shortly.

But meanwhile, this Memorial Day wedding mix has turned into a fiasco.  It’s probably true that mixes should be somewhat ephemeral; pick what sounds good, and put it together without too much thought.  But I started on this mix a month or so ago, and have been tinkering ever since.  iTunes makes that a little bit too easy; add in the fact that I’m continuing to acquire music, and this mix has become anything but a spur-of-the-moment event.  I’m being completely truthful when I say I’ve spent more time on this mix than I did preparing for the GRE, and now I can’t tell if it’s any good anymore.

Even worse, for some of the bands I’m struggling to just put one song on, which leads to absurd ideas like a 2 CD mix.  That’s the problem with being the sole creative talent behind a project, which is how shit like Use Your Illusion I and II and Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness came about.  I’ll probably go through a complete core meltdown once my prospective song list gets to about 80, at which point I’ll just decide to hand out blank CDs to people in a completely reactionary response to Song Overload.

Speaking of content overload, I have undertaken a project to copy all the text of every Pipeline entry into a Word document.  In very rare instances I have an electronic copy of a post, and I did paper printouts of Pipeline for the first two years or so, but I have no archive that would be suitable for posterity.  It’s kind of dumb to think about recording Pipeline for posterity, because so much of it has been fluff, just a quick reaction to an issue of the day.  But taken as a whole, Pipeline is the closest I’ll ever get to a journal, book, movie script, documentary, love letter to my kids, etc., and I don’t want to rely on decisions made by other people about servers I have no control over to maintain that record.

So I copy and paste.  I’m working backwards, and am only through October, 2005.  Already the document is around 350 pages long, and I fear the grand total will end up somewhere around 1500 pages when I’m done.  Just seeing the sheer volume of posts and words, I find myself wondering why the hell I wrote so much, and feel I should almost apologize for the amount of content.  I’m not reading any of the old posts as I go back in time, but I can already see there is so much absolute crap in there, especially anything I ever wrote about politics or sports.  But sometimes passion gets in the way of good writing as much as it can help it, and I think that’s been the case with Pipeline’s political and sports content.

Out of all of it, the posts about parenting seem to hold up the best.  I’d love to be able to do something with that content, but given how saturated the writing marketplace is, I’m not optimistic.  And it’s not necessary, either.  It’s enough for me to look back and relive parts of the journey, and be happy that I took the initiative to write about it, something I will be eternally thankful to Jim Haefele for, because without his encouragement there would have been no Pipeline.  In fact, without Jim’s encouragement many years ago, I would never even have realized I enjoyed or was capable of writing.

Oh, and the movie and album reviews tend to suck, too.  But not everything has to be great, or even good.  Half the time I’m just trying to start a conversation with Pipeline People, who almost always oblige, and that’s why Pipeline will always be much more than just words on a page to me.

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8 Responses to Too, Too, Too Much Content

  1. Jeff says:

    That’s awesome, Doug. Keep at it, and resist the impulse to edit yourself retroactively. You obviously aren’t going to be excited about sharing a lot of this stuff with Linus and Lily until they’re a bit older, but I can tell you that today, as an adult, I would be beside myself to discover that kind of window into my dad’s life over the span of several years. What a tremendous gift.

  2. notchris says:

    You need to winnow down from “new songs I like you may not have heard of” to something more concrete like, “songs I dance naked to”, “songs you should dance naked to” or “Songs Ian told me he dances naked to”.

    This does several things: it limits the songs eligible to go on the disc and it virtually guarantees that everyone will listen to it.

  3. kelly says:

    I’m going to second notchris…. you need some simplifying filter. Dont try to impress everyone, just make something that you want to listen to. If its a poor fit for the album despite being an incredible artist (insert cat power, anything by Fiery Furnaces, etc here).

    On the saved for posterity sake. Is there no RSS/XML feed that some savvy friend of yours (like Nate) could suck all that content down with in some less than painful (cut and paste) way?

    Saving that stuff is pretty cool. Your kids wont care until they are 23. But they will. Meantime you cant keep the rest of us active.

  4. Doug, this export of your journal into one file or separate files could be done with a program very easily. I’m sure it’s awesome to read through all the old stuff, but if you want to expedite it at any point let me know and I’m happy to help.

  5. pipelineblog says:

    Thanks for the offers of help. I might follow up on one or more of those offers.

    As for the mix, it has plenty of simplifying filler, in the sense that there are old songs, forgotten songs, simple songs, new songs, etc. The problem is simply deciding what the simplifying filler will be. But I’ve got it worked out, and expect the Nobel Mix Prize to find its way to my door sooner rather than later.

  6. notchris says:

    filter, not filler….

  7. Quinton says:

    Two discs isn’t always a bad thing. I mean who could argue against Use Your Illusion I & II…errr… on second thought. Kelly Ross once made a nice two disc mix divided into two themes: Rockin and Rollin. They mix was classic and even though it was made in like 1999, i know a few people that still carry their’s around to this day.

  8. Well, since Kelly is volunteering my assistance…. There probably is an RSS feed, but I doubt it goes that far back in time. But, I can’t believe that on a blog you actually paid to have for so long they didn’t have some easier way to retrieve the posts. Of course, the comments are where the real “content” is.

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