My new toy showed up today: the iPod Lisa got me for my birthday. I started setting it up as I was eating the mung beans with chard and spicy tomato butter left over for dinner last night, wondering by what factor the amount of mung beans equal in price to a new iPod exceeds my body weight.

For those who haven't seen the billboards, the iPod is essentially a portable 5-gigabyte hard disk, slightly taller than a cigarette pack, exactly as wide, and very slightly thinner. (No, I haven't started smoking; I'm comparing its dimensions to those of my cigarette-pack amp.) It's being marketed as a portable MP3 player, given that it can hold 75 hours or so worth of music, but it's really just a beautiful piece of engineering in general. The box notes that it has an anti-skip buffer of 20 minutes, and adds "yes, that's 'minutes'"--oh, those Apple cut-ups. Tried it out in the gym this afternoon, and it worked fine, except for the music it'd carried over from what was installed with my iBook: Phish, eek. I had a fairly tedious run of listening that I had to do in my office this afternoon, so I took the opportunity to load on a bunch of dbc favorites, Serge Gainsbourg, the Ouelele compilation, some Magnetic Fields, etc.

Sunday night, L. and I went to North Six in Williamsburg to see Cex and Aesop Rock. We ran into Liz Goodman, Jodi Shapiro, Monica Youn, and Monica's friend Greta, and ended up spending a lot of the first few acts' time on stage hanging out in the chilly bar area and talking. Liz had brought back the chef's knife we'd left at the Thanksgiving party, but obviously pulling out a massive knife in a club is not a good idea--nor is announcing "Wait, so you have a REALLY BIG KNIFE you have to give them?" about eight feet away from the bouncer, though fortunately I don't think he noticed. I don't remember that much of the conversation, but I do remember that it somehow drifted around to Harry Potter slash fiction, and I mentioned that at some point I'd been told about a slash story devoted to the Sorting Hat. Liz, I think, nailed the crucial concept: "Tell me what I am!" Oh dear.