8 July 2011


Randomness has been on my mind lately. Maybe it’s because my iPod has been stringing together some pretty awesome mixes when I hit the shuffle button. (It’s enough to make me believe in ridiculous things like iPod shuffle angels!)

Or maybe it’s because this week I’ve randomly met a few people in random place that know other people I randomly know. (That sort of randomness happens a lot in New Zealand … two degrees of separation and all that.)

Whatever it is, I’m embracing randomness this week. In the spirit of that, this blog post will be made up entirely of random thoughts. I’ll try not to hit the delete button too much. (A tough ask of a perfectionist!)

Immediate side bar recommendation. Read the Wikipedia page on randomness! It’s endlessly fascinating. Especially the bit about the ‘Monty Hall’ problem, all about cars and goats. (Scroll down to the bottom to find it.)

That reminds me. My son has created a new swear: “Satan’s bottom!” he yells. Brilliant! Simple. Cathartic. I might try to get it trending on Twitter.

Twitter. I’m growing to love that site (or whatever it is.) Talk about glorious randomness! That never-ending blending of friends trending is a godsend, and is upending my intentions of spending the weekend pretending to attend to backbending errands. (Sounds like a Guy Noir script.)

Speaking of which, Is there anyone else there that loves Guy Noir as much as I do? I’ve listened to some of those scripts a dozen times. Garrison Keillor is my hero. There’s something about that voice, and the stories of how that depressed gumshoe manages to get through his days that makes mine seem less grey.

And now I’m back to thinking about my iPod. I must admit, I love the shuffle button. I always get a small thrill at seeing the display say ‘Now playing 1 of 11357 songs’ because I know that it would take about 3 months of non-stop listening to complete the full mix. Who knows what incredible sequences of songs would be linked randomly together to form a meaningful musical story?

All I know is, in the history of the world, a radio DJ would never think to play songs by Joy Division, Tenacious D, Built to Spill, Dave Matthews Band, Fatboy Slim, Spock’s Beard, Incubus, Violent Femmes, Death Cab for Cutie, The Polyphonic Spree, Ministry, Bob Dylan, Faultline, Sleater-Kinney, Public Enemy and Bon Iver in a row and make it sound so good. That’s the magic of iPod randomness.

Of course, sometimes it all goes horribly wrong. Some mixes just suck. Who knows why? I guess that pulls me back to the point of celebrating randomness. Making sense out of randomness is kind of what humanity has been trying to do ever since we became aware that we are evolved beings. It can be terrifying, and so many tend to avoid it, hiding instead behind black and white religion.

But for me, finding meaning within meaninglessness is where life’s real beauty lies. So onward I go, eyes and heart wide open to the endless possibility and thrill of randomness. Feel free to join me, and may the iPod shuffle angel bless and keep you always.