Friday, November 19, 2004

Battle of the bands

One of the labs where I interviewed for a postdoc position had a no-music policy. At first I thought that this seemed harsh, but then I considered the music policy of our lab, which was to put on something you like when you have the chance.

So what kind of music did we end up listening to? It depended on the DJ. Baseball Cap Guy liked to use Winamp to put his playlist on repeat. The trouble here was that Baseball Cap Guy’s playlist had about 25 songs. Which he put on random repeat. For hours. Sometimes he’d put them on random repeat and then leave. With random repeat, some songs get played more often than others and it got so bad that, even today, hearing “Monkey Wrench” by the Foo Fighters makes The Doktah break out into a cold sweat.

The P.I. was just as bad. Worse, even. He didn’t have any mp3’s on his computer, so he had to rely on the CD player, and The P.I. was just as fond of repeat as Baseball Cap Guy, but a CD typically only has about 17 songs. On repeat. But, most annoying of all, The P.I. had a copy of Chumbawumba’s “Tubthumping” single. The single! And he put it on repeat! For days at a time! Days!

When a single song is played that often, it sort of gets into your subconscious and you don’t even realize it’s playing anymore, so no one would shut it off. The P.I. would turn it on at night when he was in the lab by himself and then leave it on when he went home, so the first person in the lab the next morning would think it had just been turned on, and then would get sucked in. Whenever I noticed that it had been playing for so long, I would stop it, but for some reason I was the only one. Everyone else was subdued by the Power of the CD Player. It’s rude to just turn off someone’s choice of music, so nobody did.

When The Doktah joined the lab, she took a stand and put a piece of tape on the CD player labeled, “P.I.: Do not touch this button.” There was an arrow pointing to the “repeat” button. That worked for awhile, but at some point I think we had to hide “Tubthumping.”

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