Friday Fives – what’s the real value?

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What do you feel like you’re missing out on?

Friendships.  I miss my friends.  I miss all my Extel® crew***.  This is a function of two things… I am working a lot, and work odd hours.  The other thing, we moved out to the country.   Where once everything was 20 minutes away, it is now an hour away.  I love my life, and I love living out in ‘the sticks’, but it has taken a toll on friendships.  These days, we just hang out with our neighbors.  That being said, I fucking love our neighbors.  The people who live around us are such a cool community and we have all gotten really close.

What are some interesting life hacks for saving money?

When you have amazon prime, and free 2 day shipping, and a credit card already stored in the system… stay AWAY from amazon.com – nothing good comes from that level of convenience.  Almost anything you want, push a button, it will be here tomorrow.  No Bueno.

Here is another one – Spotify.  I used to buy CDs.  Sometimes, I might only listen to it once.  I don’t need to do that anymore.  With spotify, every album is right there.  I know I am late to the party, I just got it very recently… but I wish I bought it 10 years ago.  Wait, how long has it been around?  I used to be bullish on Pandora, and it is still nice for variety, but it can’t give you the music you want.  Seriously.  I have a Pearl Jam station… it plays everyone BUT Pearl Jam.  Apparently, due to licensing stuff, they can only play one song an hour from any one band.  Instead, they give you bands like Pearl Jam.  “you love Pearl Jam, so you will love Soundgarden.  Here is a TON of fucking Soundgarden, you fat fuck!”   the thing is… they are right, I do love Soundgarden.  Guess what, though, I don’t want to hear Soundgarden… I have a fucking Soundgarden station (that only plays Pearl Jam, mind you.)  I don’t want to hear bands LIKE Pearl Jam.  I want to hear Pearl Jam!

Phew… wow, that got a little ugly.  Guess I have been sitting on those feelings for about 5 years now.

What’s the worst purchase you ever made?

Nothing comes to mind.  I had a couple big Ford diesel trucks that were pretty much constant electrical problems.  It’s a shame, they were cool and fun trucks… but constant problems.  In fact… that reminds me of a great story that needs to be a commercial.  After 2 troublesome Fords, I bought a Toyota truck and everything was fine.  Back when I had the Fords (had 2 back to back) I was at the auto parts store every single weekend.  I knew the guys by name, and they knew me.  Once I got the Toyota, I never needed anything.  Seriously… everything just worked.  So, I went in one weekend after being gone for like a year.  They said “Mr Lang, where have you been?”  I said “Sorry guys, I got a Toyota.”  They looked at each other and shrugged.   THAT should be a Toyota commercial.

***That was my real name up there.  Someone please edit that out.

You are the editor, idiot.  Just go delete it – ed

What’s the best purchase you ever made?

Our little 5 acre piece of paradise.  We got horses and dogs and cats and fish and a view of the whole Rocky Mountain Range and a hot tub on the back porch to watch it all.   And… the coolest neighbors in the world!  Don’t worry, I am not buttering them up.  Lets be honest, none of them read this.  I think they even get their weather from Rush Limbaugh.  I still love them, though.  In case you think it is a stereotype that people who live on dirt roads are all gun nuts… it is 100% true.  I don’t know a single neighbor who has less than 10 guns.  Except Sally.  Go see Sally, she is a pottery genius, and my wonderful friend.  Here is her site, I built it for her.

What products/services are extremely overpriced but we pay for anyway?

Not me, but everyone else… tv.  The average cable bill is $120 a month after fees.  That is insane.  Here is what we have.  A $30 HD antenna from Costco.  Gets me all the local channels and then some for free.  In HD.  It’s amazing… no thicker than a piece of paper.  And we have Netflix, at about $10 a month.  That means my tv bill in one year is what cable/satellite people pay per month.  Also, in the bedrooms where the antenna doesn’t work (has to be line of site, and we live on top of a hill luckily) I bought Roku boxes.  That is a one time cost of about $50 each that gets every room Netflix and Hulu and Amazon.  Oh, we have amazon, too.  It’s Amazon prime, for the free shipping… but has a good collection of free tv and movies.  We also have Hulu, but that doesn’t count.  We are using Ashley’s account.  I gave her my Netflix password and she gave us her Hulu.

 

Note to editor – please take Ashley’s name out, or at least change it.

Why?  She doesn’t read this.  Well… maybe she does.  I guess we are about to find out.  😊

 

*** Extel – see what I did there?  We all worked for Nextel, but they are out of business.  We are ex-Nextel employees.  We are ‘Extel® ‘.  I need to patent that shit!

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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.