Pandora, Nickelback, and not exactly telling my wife everything

America ,

I am for equality and love and choice.  I am a Democrat, these are my core principles.  I wish I could tell you that I also don’t believe in judging…  except clearly that is not the case.

Anyhow, I wanted to share a moral fable with you.  It’s a story of love, trust, marriage, and subversion.

It starts with Pandora.  I LOVE Pandora.  I use it daily.  I think they are a great company and I want them to succeed.  I know there are now about 11 similar services.  My Pandora is all set and customized, so I don’t to hear about slacker and sticther and beats etc etc etc.  I even pay  for Pandora.  It’s like $40 a year.  SO worth it… and I want them to be profitable.  I want the artists to get paid.

So, because I pay, I have basically unlimited channels.  I use about 15, and I gave the wifey the passwords so she could make her own stations.  That is how loving and compassionate I am.  She can listen to whatever she wants.  What do I care?  I certainly don’t expect her to listen to Dylan all day.  Hell, I don’t expect ANYONE to listen to that much Dylan except myself.

First problem is this, she doesn’t ‘feed and water’ her stations.  This is a biggie, and a big problem.  You don’t just put Pandora on and listen.  No.  NEVER.  If I find you also doing this, I will have your radio taken away.  Pandora demands easy maintenance.  For the first year, it is simple.  EVERY SONG you hear you need to thump up or down.  Trust me, this pays mad dividends down the road.  Think of it, in every possible sense, as the break in period for your car.  That first 1,000 miles you have to take very specific care.  This is how you get 300K miles out of a car.  Or, if you have a GM, up to 300 miles.

It’s why you had to go to school.  It sucked at the time, right?   But, it literally pays 60 years of dividends.  This is why you MUST feed and water your Pandora.

This comes to my problem, and my dirty secret.  I don’t manage my wifey’s stations.  It isn’t my business.  Just like her email, or that Maroon 5 channel she has.

She recently showed me a dope ass station she built.  It was a journey station. So, there is Boston in there, ac/dc, Led Zepp… it is just a great station.  I guess this shows my age a bit.  I liked it so much I have been listening at work.

That is when I crossed the line, and I need your advice.  I made a move, on her station, which is not my business.  Unless she is reading this, she still doesn’t know.

It is like if she finds ciggies on me, she throws them out, for my own good.  That is kinda how I see this.  On her Journey station, Nickelback came up.  For the good of EVERYONE, I had to thumb it down.  I am not proud of this, but I did what needed to be done for own good.  Remember when your parents would say things like “I don’t give a shit if this is your bedroom.  As long as you live under my room you live by my rules!”  It’s a much more loving version of that, right?

So, was I wrong?  Just kidding, of course not you asshole.  Let’s be cool and maybe not mention to her.

 

Friday Fives – work edition

1.  How is your day so far? 

good, thanks for asking.  Busy, but no more so than any other work day.  I took lunch and went to play guitars at Guitar Center.  That always cheers me up and kills time.  It’s Friday as you read this, but its not my Friday.  I work Saturdays.

2.  Let’s talk about cursing.  Do you curse? What’s your favorite curse word/phrase? 

Yes I do.  I am not proud of it, and always working to improve that aspect.  My favorite curse words are two I invented.  The first one is ‘goddamnitsomuch’.  It is just satisfying.  Now I have Sam and Renee using it too, which tickles me to no end.  The other one is ‘dunk’.  I invented it for practical reasons, and I will not tell you what it means.  It is something I can scream in traffic or polite company and no one knows my horrible vile thoughts.

3.  Job speak. Recently, we asked how to describe your job to a 5 year old. Now, what is your job and how can others make it easier? 

I help people who have problems with their telephones.  If my job was easier, they wouldn’t need me.  So, I do not seek for that to happen.  But, again, thank you for asking.  Very considerate of you.

I have a desk job.  I call myself a ‘cubicle monkey’.  I know so many people who say “I could never ever be chained to a desk all day.  That is too depressing!”.  I fully see why people would think that, but I don’t mind at all.  It is always warm and safe and dry.  I have a really nice comfy chair, and access to all the coffee I can drink.  I listen to my pandora and help people out.  That is not a bad way to pass the days.  I sure hope not, since I have been here for 16 years.  The company is very good to me.

4.  What is the most f@#-up thing to happen at your office/job? 

probably not much different from what everyone deals with at work.  They say “it’s only work if you’d rather be somewhere else”.  While I would generally rather be at home watching action movies, I am not unhappy at work.  I enjoy going to work.  I don’t enjoy getting out of bed, but I love my drive it.  It’s 35 minutes I use to listen to books on tape about history.  plus, I live out in the country, so my drive to work is rolling hills, no traffic, and watching out for deer.

When people find out where I live (which is out by Elizabeth), they wonder how I can handle such a drive.  Then I probe them and find out their drive is the same.  It’s 30 minutes.  BUT… their time is spent in traffic on i-25 looking at tail lights.  I easily manager an average speed of 45 mph the whole way.

5.  What is the dumbest customer complaint you have heard?

a customer today posted he lost his million dollar company because of bad phone service.  he said we were irresponsible, and cost all those people their jobs.  I was befuddled.  if you have a million dollar business… or even a $75 business… wouldn’t you have a couple $25 a month land lines?

Friday Fives

Music to My Ears

1. How often do you listen to music?

constantly.  Virtually every waking minute.  Well, lemme clarify.  When driving, I am usually listening to Podcasts (Adam Carolla, Car Talk, or This American Life). I used to tether my iPod everywhere.  I have speakers set up at work, home, etc.  I even keep portable speakers in my truck for camping or whatever.  Now, I just stream Pandora through the same channels, but use my cell phone instead to deliver it.  Also, there is the whole roku thing I do through the home stereo, which now streams Pandora as well.  if you have a PS3 or a new Blu Ray player, it probably also does all of this as well.

2. Do you ever listen to the radio? What is your favorite station?

not much.   Can’t stand the radio because of what Clear Channel did to it.  My favorite station is NPR, especially since they made the big move to FM Stereo in the Denver market.  90.1, KCFR

3. How do you find new songs, albums, or artists to listen to?

well, my band.  I am not super open to new bands.  I have always been this way, even though I am a new fanatic.  Being in a band, I am constantly being forced to check out new stuff, as the others want to put the influences into the set.  This is great, and has taught me to appreciate more than my little circle of Dylan, Dead, Metallica, Pearl Jam, and Pumpkins.   Yes, there are other bands, apparently.

4. When was the last time you bought a CD? A digital music file?

I bought a few of the Beatles re-releases.  I wanted the actual Cds because they each came with little documentaries.  Also, the Beatles aren’t on iTunes yet.  I don’t trust iTunes or the whole back up arrangement.  So, if it is a CD I want to have for years, I buy the physical thing.  The last audio disc I downloaded was Brandi Carlile.  That perfectly examples how iTunes totally dicked me.  Only half the songs of her new disc (giving of the ghost, I think it’s called) showed up.  I am sure it is a great disc, but I won’t know unless I shell out another $12.  So, lesson learned.  Buy the actual disc.

5. Do you think any of the technologies and distribution methods mentioned above will still be around in ten years? Why or why not?

yes, and it is my long held vision of the media server.  You know how all your albums are on your iPod?  Well, that is a start.  In the future, you will have a media server, likely your cell phone.  It will contain all your Cds, DVDs, photos, etc.  Cell phones are also becoming projectors.  True story, your next big screen TV (in five years time) will be your cell phone.  You ask “how can my cell phone store all my Cds and DVDs and pictures”?  It won’t.  That will be stored offsite, like a gmail server, and you will stream it wherever you go (like Pandora).

so, I think most distribution channels will be digital and virtual in the future.

Friday Fives

iTunes Five

1. What song do you play the most?

‘All in All’ by Toad the Wet Sprocket.  It’s on ‘in Light Syrup’, and it will change your life.  Funny, it only made the outtake album after they broke up.  It is triumphant. Btw, in case you are a fan or casual listener… they are somewhat back together, and still gig as Toad.  I can’t say enough good things about this band.  They are under-rated, and under the radar.  Some of the best music of the ’90s.

2. What song do you play the least?

Anything by Kiss.  Oh my god do I hate Kiss.  Last year, Brian,  Ginther, and I all swapped hard drives to trade music.  Result?  I have, like, 6 Kiss albums.  I am pissed, and everyone is a suspect.  Even though my iPod is only 1/3rd full, I removed all the Kiss immediately.  Ok, I did keep Beth.  That song is dope, but don’t tell anyone I like it.  It’s like digging ‘Glee’.  Just keep that a secret, broseph!

Listening to Kiss is like taking a Bon Jovi album, and removing what little musicality there is.  Then, make sure it is poorly engineered.  After that, replace every single lyric with an overt reference to sex, as written by a 9 yeawr old.  Then, you have Kiss.  I’d rather listen to dance music, and that just hurt to type.

3. What’s the last song you added?

A lecture from Scott Berkun.  I am reading a really cool book from him right now.  Details over here.  But, that isn’t a song, is it?  So, the real question is what is the last music I bought.  Probably Brandi Carlile’s new disc.  Her album ‘the Story’ is amazing.  Five Stars.

4. What’s your favorite playlist?

* caution > monster tangent alert

I put together an annual Christmas Rock list, but I am really using Pandora for everything now.  I just discovered Pandora two days ago, and it is a game changer. I am not even using my iPod anymore.  I had heard about Pandora for years.  I knew it took your music and gave you similar music you would like.  Well, that idea kinda offended me.  See, I don’t need ANYONE telling me what I would like.  Plus, I have everything… so what can Pandora do for me?   didn’t need Pandora.  I thought it was beneath me as a master musicologist.  I was wrong.

Pandora just got loaded onto my Roku box (through Netflix) so I loaded it.  It asked me what I wanted and I said ‘Jerry Garcia’.  So, now is plays Jerry Garcia bootlegs, bluegrass band music, Grateful Dead (live and studio), Bobby Weir solo, the Allman Brothers, Van Morrison, early Dylan, the Band.  What can I say?  Oh, and it played the Beatles.  How the hell did they get the rights to the Beatles?  Seriously, that shit is better protected than Fort Knox.  I bought three of those Beatles re-master releases this fall, and I don’t think I am technically allowed to listen to them.   Apple records is kind of evil.  ‘All You Need is Love”?  My ass, these guys are more litigious than Scientology. Anyhow… it was 100% correct, and I didn’t have a LOT of this stuff.  It was right, I was wrong.  Go ahead and mark the day and date on that sentence.  You don’t get to see it often.

So, I loaded a Pearl Jam list (those are my two favorite bands, see).  It is possibly even better.  Even though I have everything studio album PJ has, Pandora plays their live cuts.  Remember, for the last ten years, Pearl Jam has released every single concert they have played.  So, there are thousands of soundboard bootlegs out there I could never collect.   Also, it picked similar bands I would like:  Stone Temple Pilots, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Smashing Pumpkins, and solo Eddie Vedder stuff.   Yeah, they are dead on with those.

Now, what is cool is that my new cell phone (the Palm Pre) also has Pandora on it.  So, at work and in my truck, I used to plug my iPod to listen to music.  No longer.  I plug my cell phone into my computer and truck speakers.  I stream the Pandora wherever I go.  When I get home, I throw Pandora on the home stereo system through the Roku.  This is the really good quality, because it beams it through the whole home theatre system.  Pandora does all this for free, too.  I was so smitten, though, that I bought the upgrade.

I also made some other stations:  Billy Joel, Johnny Cash, Metallica, and Bob Dylan.  However, the Jerry and Pearl Jam channels are so good… I haven’t been able to stray.  I listened to the Jerry Garcia channel for 9 hours at my desk yesterday, and did the same with Pearl Jam today.  On the PJ channel, they are even throwing down ‘Temple of the Dog’.  That is some deep catalogue dopeness.  Temple of the Dog is Pearl Jam playing with Soundgarden before either band formally existed.  It is disgusting good, find ‘Hunger Strike’.

5. What kind of iPod (or MP3 player) do you have?

My iPod is pretty new, but is a ‘classic’ design.  It is a 120 gig repository of yumminess.  To be fair, though, I really use my Palm Pre for almost everything.  I loaded about 12 really good albums on the memory card, and I have Pandora for everything else.

* seriously, I do NOT watch Glee.  Anyone who says otherwise gets punched straight in the babymaker.  Got it, buster?  Don’t even joke about that.