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Editor’s Note: Earlier this year, Justin wrote Iceland, a blog about his band’s American tour. Justin isn’t on tour anymore, but Iceland continues, twice a week, on City Desk.

Like many seasons of The Sopranos, life is full of blind alleys, bad ideas, and false starts. Some might explore a “starter” marriage or membership in an independent political party. Others might invest in the commodities market or make a go of it in the drug trade. But, as the ancient Romans pointed out, Crede quod habes, et habes—-that is, “Believe that you have it, and you do.”

As a serious artist, I once thought it necessary to own a Roland SPD-S sampling pad. For approximately $500, the Roland SPD-S sampling pad offers much:

  • Compact electronic percussion multi-pad with CD-quality sampling
  • Play 8 sounds simultaneously via 6 pads and 3 edge triggers
  • Approx. 12 minutes of 44.1kHz sampling (3 minutes in Fine mode)
  • 399 User waveforms and 181 “ready-to-play” waveforms pre-loaded into User memory
  • Onboard pattern sequencer and resampling function
  • 30 multi-effects and ambience add dimension to sounds
  • Import and export .WAV/AIFF files with your Mac or PC using optional CompactFlash cards

What versatile functionality! I exclaimed when I learned about the Roland SPD-S. I can use this machine to bolster my aesthetic. I quickly traveled to Chuck Levin’s and purchased my very own Roland SPD-S. Unfortunately, the employees of Chuck Levin’s failed to inform me that I would find the Roland SPD-S completely useless and, one year later, sell it on eBay for 60 percent of its purchase price.

“Please send this tomorrow if possible,” wrote the eBay user who purchased my Roland SPD-S. Known only as “Primoinsania,” this eBay user’s sheer enthusiasm for the Roland SPD-S threatened to burst my computer screen. Five minutes of Internet research confirmed the pressing need—-Babies in Limbo, Primoinsania’s band, has a show with Year of the Cow and Robot Dick at Bridge Street Station in Fairhaven, Mass., on June 17, 2007.

“I will send the Roland SPD-S in question via UPS tomorrow,” I replied. “I can only pray that it arrives in time.” Oh, Primoinsania! I thought. The Roland SPD-S is a fine machine, but so are laster printers, MRIs, and Sherman tanks! Are you sure you have a need for such trifles?

Unable to attend Primoinsania’s performance in Fairhaven and further advise him, I wondered how I would spend his money. I quickly calculated that the $300 he had paid for my Roland SPD-S could be turned into 15 big bets in the next $10-to-$20 hold ’em game that I locate. Alternately, I could buy 200 20-ounce bottles of Coca-Cola.