ghost of itunes past

A few weeks ago, Hermes died.(1) It had been coughing and wheezing for over a year now, so I’d backed up all my documents and images and, most importantly, my music on an external hard drive.

Whew.

Last Saturday, after many attempted séances, tea readings, augurizing a murder of crows and leaving the laptop near piles of radiated waste, I finally Külber-Rossed myself into acceptance. Hermes was dead. Tears would have been shed, but I’d installed Vista(2) on it a while back(3) so this lachrymose moment was tempered by a cathartic sigh of relief.

I plugged my external hard drive into Ashley’s laptop, eager to re-establish my iTunes library. Once I pointed iTunes to the proper folder, I learned that all of my play counts were gone, and, more importantly, so were my playlists. The play counts I could live without, but I keep the mixes that people give to me and I keep them in the order in which they were designed. However, I hadn’t yet synchronized my iPod(4) with this new library, so my playlists were in order on the iPod.

So I made some coffee, got comfortable, turned on SportsCenter, grabbed the mouse toy so I could play fetch with the cat, and started rebuilding my playlists. Everything went well, except for a few claw marks from an over-zealous kitty, until I tried putting together LindyLoo’s “Valentine’s Songs for the Cynical Lover” mix that she sent a few years ago. None of those songs existed, except for the few songs that I’d already had in my collection when she sent the mix.(5)

Searching the drive thoroughly yielded no results, but when I mentioned the loss to Lindy Loo earlier this week, she emailed me the songs again. So yay!

I later learned though that I could replace the iTunes library on Ashley’s laptop with the same file from my library. Hermes’s hard drive was just fine so the IT dude here at work, who, like all IT dudes in my experience, is at once super-lazy and hyperactive, gave me some type of rig that let me plug the laptop’s hard drive into my work computer and transfer files and then I think it somehow made omelets and home fries for me and also did my mom while the family dog watched.

Whatever.

Point is: I got my library file. And last night, I traded it out with the file on Ashley’s laptop top and HUZZAH! I had my playlists!

I went to the Valentine’s playlist and double-clicked a song, but what do you know? It started to play! (Note that I hadn’t added the emailed songs to the hard drive yet.) Curious as to how I didn’t find it on the hard drive when clearly it was there, I right-clicked and went to View in Windows Explorer.

But it wasn’t there.

All I saw was an empty window with the correct folder name at the top and a sentence telling me that the folder was empty.

This. While the song played.

Spooky.

I repeated the process with half-a-dozen songs or so, with the same results each time.

Super spooky.

Each time I gazed upon an empty folder while the song that should have been in said folder played, I felt Haley Joel Osment.

Scooby-Doo(6) spooky.

[Insert jinkies here.]

My plan for today was to research this ghost-song phenomenon, but, alas, I’ve been too busy at work to do much more than blog about it. So it’ll have to wait until tomorrow.

I can’t decide, though, if, no matter the outcome, I should keep the phantom songs. I have the versions Lindy Loo emailed me, in case I lose the ghosts again, so the possibility of resurrection is there. On the other hand, I could play it safe end ‘delete’ the ghost files, replacing them with the ‘live’ files.

If only I could be sure how to delete a non-existent file.

And now this has gone from supernatural concern to existential crisis.

More later.


  1. My laptop.
  2. Vista is part of the Microsoft Windows family and a registered trademark of Microsoft.
  3. Roughly around the same time that Hermes started coughing, wheezing and drinking too much Nyquil.(a)
    1. NyQuil, as well as its sun-up counterpart, DayQuil, is a part of the Vicks family of over-the-counter medicines and a registered trademark of Procter & Gamble Co., based in Cincinnati, Ohio.
  4. a.k.a – The Black Bard.
  5. It should perhaps be mentioned that my memory is quite good with this sort of thing and I could probably put together one long playlist of every song I own in autobiographical order, as suggested by Rob Gordon in the film High Fidelity,(a) if only I had the time and tried hard enough.
    1. Or Rob Fleming, as it in the book of the same title.
  6. Scooby-Doo is a registered trademark of Hanna-Barbera, a private company until 1967, when its studios were sold to Taft Television and Radio Company, Inc., also based in Cincinnati, Ohio. In 1991, Hanna-Barbera was acquired by Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., which itself became a subsidiary of Time Warner, Inc. in 1996. In 1997, Hanna-Barbera was folded into Warner Bros. Animation studios, itself a subsidiary of Time Warner, Inc. Then, in 2000, many of William Hanna’s and Joseph Barbera’s most popular offerings became part of the line-up on the new Cartoon Network, where they live on to this day.
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