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I can't have nice things. At a certain point you stop saying, "this is why we..." and just accept it. Your life is why. It's not we. It's you.

Or the Universe is just giving you a proverbial cosmic swirly for no good reason. Whichever answer is less likely to keep you up screaming at night.

Anyway, this new non-nice thing is actually an old non-nice thing -- or at least, a new non-nice twist to an old familiar pickle. A while back, I mentioned our condo's fancy in-wall speaker system. And how we never really wanted a fancy in-wall speaker system, but apparently the folks who had the place before us did, and so the fancy speakers were, as they say, already in-wall.

That just left us to buy the aggressively-priced piece of kit that had the only plug in existence, apparently, to fit the proprietary socket snaked at the end of these in-wall speaker cables. It was either that, or use the speakers as in-wall flower pots. So we saved up, and we bought the electro-music maker doohickey, so sounds that we like to listen to would come out-wall in our direction.

Of course, as with most overpriced doohickeys, this one's not especially very good. It's basically a two-generations-old Windows box with space for MP3s, It seizes up occasionally, the interface is a mess, when you turn it on in one room it sometimes magically activates in others, and worst of all, it has an unnatural predilection for Limp Bizkit.

"This is what we get for buying audio equipment from the Danes. You might as well get your bananas from Greenland."

This is what we get for buying audio equipment from the Danes. You might as well get your bananas from Greenland.

Still, it works -- sometimes -- and I finally had the good sense to take that one Limp Bizkit disc off the hard drive, so we'll never be bothered with it again.

(In case you were too enraptured with this narrative to go back and read the earlier piece, the software includes a finger-quotes feature end-finger-quotes that will compare the artist you're playing to the other songs in your library, and when your selected band runs out of tunes, it'll play the others it deems most similar. It's like Pandora, or Google's Instant Mix, or whatever quadruply-patented proprietary algorithm Apple is running with these days.

Only, it's an idiot. And it plays favorites. Not my favorites, mind you. The thing has a half-addled mind of its own. And it decided, early on, that out of eight thousand-plus songs, my one Limp Bizkit CD [borrowed from a friend, in my defense] was the. Greatest. Thing. EVAR!! From that earlier post:

"Fire up a Beethoven piece -- Limp Bizkit's in the first dozen songs. Spin through an old Replacements set -- next up, it's Bizkit. Mike Doughty -- Bizkit. Orbital -- Bizkit. Harry Connick, Jr. covers classic songs from the annals of Broadway classics? BIZKIT, BIZKIT, BIZKIT."

Clearly, the company that makes this software is run by a bunch of fifteen year old boys with their pants halfway down their ass, caught in a time warp from 2001. Or maybe the Danes just hate us. I could believe that, too.)

So what did I go and do, once I'd finally rid our in-walls of the endlessly-repeated Bizkit scourge?

I bought an audiobook. And, thinking I might like to listen through it in the living room one day, I put it on the music system.

Stupid, stupid, stupid.

Obviously, the machine picked up these spoken-word chapters, which sound like nothing else in our library, and decided they sound exactly like ALL THE THINGS in our library. So random bits of this book turn up out of the blue, all out of order and completely non-musically.

Meanwhile, I never actually got around to listening to the book -- in the living room or elsewhere -- so every time I want to listen to a nice tune or two in the shower or the kitchen, I'm at grave risk of spoilering myself when some late-chapter plot twist comes blaring out of the in-wall.

"You say the killer was the police detective, after all? That explains so much!"

So much for suspense. Meanwhile, I'm clawing at the wall control, desperately trying not to hear any more, and realizing too late that this is one of those times the godforsaken machine decided to turn on all the speakers in every room. So I'm being spoilered in surround sound, with every room in the place against me.

So once again, I can't have nice things. Like audiobooks, or fancy in-wall speakers. Or at least, I can't put two (supposedly) nice things together. Because who would ever want to do a thing like that. And the Universe swirlies on...

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