In our frenzy of packing to move here, we sold and gave away most of our CD/DVDs, bringing only the essentials, thinking we could replace what we wanted once we were here. Bringing them was just too much: we had hundreds! Sorting through them would have taken too long – we only had 30 days to pack. And they are heavy to move! That would have required a heavy suitcase over our limit of 16 bags or the shipping of a very heavy box. Add to that the very likely event of paying duty on them, no matter how they got here. It was all too much to deal with at the time.

Unfortunately, buying CD/DVDs here is very expensive, at least twice as much as in the states. And I have yet to see a $5 sale rack here… That was a rude awakening! Fortunately, we were already iproducts users, our musical lifesaver.

When I first started downloading music a few years ago, I looked at all the music sites. iTunes had by FAR the biggest selection, especially country music and showtunes for me, Kamakawiwo’ole (Iz for short) and jazz (which his former wife calls "jump off the cliff" music because that’s what you want to do after listening to Miles Davis for about 10 minutes… I’m with her) for Xavier. All the other music download sites had tons ‘o rap and little else. No Etta, no Randy, zero classical… the essentials. With our hi-speed internet connection and iTunes, for 99¢ a song, $10 an album, we are still in music heaven.

We had ipods already and two sets of those $12 speakers ($12 in the states – they are $24 here at Hipermas). Morgan and Ryan can each hook up speakers to his rap-filled iTunes, either via laptop or ipod and have music in his room. On low. We have a good set of speakers downstairs with a woofer* hooked up to my laptop so we can boogie down any time at all.

Fortunately, we had given our most-favorite CDs to Uncle Brian and Ain’t Peg. So last December in Key West, I downloaded about 50 CDs to my 80GB hard drive laptop. Took all night, but so worth it!!!

The downside to iTunes is that it converts downloaded songs (whether from a CD or from the www) to its own format so you can only play them on an ipod. So far, I haven’t found a software program that will convert iTunes songs to an MP3 format for listening with Windows Media or any MP3 players. Correction: I’ve found those software programs and downloaded them, but so far none of them work. Until that software comes out, we are locked to iproducts.

Since I only wanted to do this painstaking copying task once, after I downloaded those 50 CDs to iTunes, I copied them into Media Player for the MP3 format as well. I didn’t want to risk not being able to play my music on whatever device I had at the time…

Being locked into ipods is ok, really. They are more expensive than MP3 players, but just as durable, maybe more, excellent sound, good warranty so far. And not only is the music selection on iTunes still superior, the Mac people have user-friendly down to a science. Plus I’m subscribed to several podcasts via iTunes, I’ve downloaded TV shows COMMERCIAL-FREE that I couldn’t get or missed here for $2 each. Got the whole season of South Park (teens, you know) for $34. There’s a bargain, eh?

Right now, I’m listening to Love’s Been Rough On Me. Forget At Last. If you don’t have this album and have never heard Etta sing Love’s Been Rough On Me or If I Had Any Pride Left At All, The Rock, Don’t Touch Me… well, I guarantee you have not lived.

*I live with guys.

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